‘A Good Turn Christmas’ at the Church History Museum

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The Church History Museum prepares for the Christmas season with exhibit "A Good Turn Christmas" featuring acts of service. (Photo by Kirsten Paul.)
The Church History Museum prepares for the Christmas season with exhibit “A Good Turn Christmas” featuring acts of service. (Photo by Kirsten Paul)

The Church History Museum in Salt Lake City focuses on the Christlike spirit of service during this Christmas season with a new temporary exhibit, “A Good Turn Christmas.”

The exhibit’s title comes from the Boy Scout slogan “a good turn daily” and features the spirit of Christmas through doing charitable acts of service.

The Church History Museum displays acts of service and love through artwork in “A Good Turn Christmas” with nativity sets from around the world, paintings, and other works of art. The exhibit is open Nov. 23–Jan. 12.

Doing a “good turn daily,” according to the Boy Scouts of America, means to preform an act of kindness each day.

“Basically it means that part of being a Scout is doing an act of service each day,” said Michelle Richmond,a member of the Great Salt Lake Boy Scouts of America Council.

Charles and Donna Cooley, founders of Utah charity The Happy Factory, donated a special nativity set many years ago. Each piece of the nativity was created with a different type of wood or material from a different country. Their nativity set is one of many artifacts relating to Christ’s life in the new exhibit.

“Charlie and I made the nativity sets several years ago,” Donna Cooley said. “We thought about the museum and decided to donate a nativity set to them many years ago. I have lots of people that would love to have them, but there aren’t any left. I have two designed that are saved for my great-grandkids. We just don’t make them anymore.”

The Happy Factory, founded by the couple in 1995, takes scrap wood and turns it into toys. The charity started out as a hobby and turned into a large-scale collaboration of service and a non-profit organization. The Happy Factory puts all of the donated money it receives toward building toys for children in 180 countries.

“The Happy Factory crèche set exemplifies the Savior’s love,” a statement from the Church History Museum said. “The Museum hopes to instill within visitors the desire to likewise do a good turn.”

Donna Cooley described the donated nativity set to be different from other nativity sets.

“It’s not any of these glamorous nativity scenes,” Donna Cooley said. “It is its own little world.”

The exhibit features pieces of art, both small (like the Happy Factory nativity set) and large. The art has a background story of Christlike love and kindness through different acts of service. The museum encourages patrons to be inspired by the example of the pieces and their stories during the Christmas season.

“The museum invites the public to come ponder the love Christ has for them and how they can show that love to others,” the museum statement said. The exhibit is a public, free event. The museum is open Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Church History Museum is located at 45 N. West Temple Street, near the Salt Lake City Temple and the Conference Center.

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