‘Walked and walked and walked and walked’ to the HBLL


Megan McEntire is about to graduate with a degree in curatorial studies and is looking forward to experiences she will have in her career. But her college experience has been pretty special, too.

McEntire has been instrumental in putting together a new exhibit, “The Mormon Migration,” which will open this Thursday in the Harold B. Lee Library.

Among the different items on display is a dress that was carried across the plains with the Martin and Willey handcart companies. McEntire secured the dress for the exhibition.

“The dress will go to Salt Lake when the exhibit is over but we get it here first because we got to it first,” McEntire said.

The dress, which is still in pristine condition, was handmade by Maria Bentley Christiansen for her wedding and was afterward brought to Salt Lake with the pioneers and passed down from generation to generation. Handling such a rare piece of history is not something that happens every day.

“It’s nerve-wracking,” McEntire said. “I felt very accomplished and trusted because not many people have ever been able to handle the dress. It was very humbling.”

Howard C. Bybee, who is curating the exhibit, also shares McEntire’s enthusiasm for the exhibit. Bybee explained that in addition to the dress, there will also be a handcart and toys that were played with in the household of Brigham Young.

“The overall exhibit is exciting,” Bybee said. “You can’t pick any single thing over another.”

The exhibit, which will be complimented by a lecture, is one of seven different exhibits that will be displayed on the main floor of the library next to the security desks. The different exhibits are part of the HBLL’s 50th anniversary.

Roger Layton, who headed the committee to celebrate the anniversary, said this exhibit has been a year in the making.

The lecture to be given in conjunction with the opening of the exhibit will be given by Professor Fred E. Woods on Thursday at 2 p.m in the auditorium on level one of the HBLL. Wood’s remarks will be titled “The Sail Before the Trail or Have We Missed the Boat?” Wood’s remarks will address the often overlooked passage many pioneers took from Europe to America.

Students interested in learning more about the Mormon migration can visit lib.byu.edu/mormonmigration, where they can find complete lists of passengers and firsthand accounts of European converts coming to America.

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