Treasured artifacts on display

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Preaching the gospel amidst Nazi Brown Shirts and Gestapo agents was not exactly what Don Gilmore Christenson envisioned when he received his call to serve a mission in pre-war Germany. Christenson tells of his experiences as a missionary during WWII in three of his journals, which are currently on display in the third floor exhibit area of the Harold B. Lee Library, along with other notable items.

Each year, the Special Collections curators come up with a theme for what will be displayed in the exhibit area. Last year’s exhibits celebrated the 50-year mark of the HBLL’s current location. The final exhibit of 2011, which is still in display, contained the curators’ favorite artifacts.

Maggie Kopp, Curator of Rare Books, chose to display a medieval manuscript by Aelium Donatus which contained rules for grammar, syntax and style.

“I thought it would be interesting for a student to see what a textbook would have looked like in the Middle Ages,” Kopp said.

In addition to the journals and medieval manuscript, the exhibit also includes first editions of The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price; Japan’s Declaration of War on the U.S.; Cantatas by Agostino Steffani; a Civil War soldier’s letter to his father after President Abraham Lincoln’s death; an Ansel Adams print; a daguerreotype of Brigham Young; a souvenir program of King Kong and Brigham Young Academy’s General Theology Class records from the late 1800s.

Roger Layton, Communications Manager at the HBLL, said all items in the Special Collections section are available for students to access while in the library; however, they cannot check out the Special Collections items.

Taylor Jackson, a Junior from Washington studying Sociology, fears that the reason students do not know about the availability of these items is because reading is not a priority for students anymore.

“There are still so many books today, but I feel like it is becoming a lost art,” Jackson said.

She is glad to see that the library is preserving history in keeping these artifacts and she is excited to further explore other items located in the Special Collections section of the library.

Layton said the current display was set up during finals week in December. The exhibit will be displayed longer than usual to give students the opportunity to appreciate the display without the end of semester stress. The exhibit is located east of the elevator, just past the security desks on the third floor. It will be open until the end of January during regular library hours and admission is free.

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