Church Historic Sites

Have you ever lingered in the Sacred Grove? Paused to read the inscription on a headstone at the Winter Quarters Cemetery? Wondered aloud how the pioneers fit in those little benches at the Salt Lake Tabernacle? Glanced at the historic marker at Benbow farm? If the answer is yes, you have interacted with a church historic site.

For the sake of all of you who might not know exactly what a church historic site is, I thought I would start with a brief definition of the program. Church historic sites include restored structures and interpretive centers (think Historic Kirtland and the Mormon Trail Center), historic landmarks (think tabernacles and temples), historic cemeteries (think Winter Quarters and Mt. Pisgah), and historic markers on church property or using the Church’s name (way too many of these to mention and the list is constantly growing). Many people know about or have visited a church site but few probably stop to think about the work that goes into their visit. Because of the complexity of these sites, those who work with them have to juggle a lot of things. The LDS Church historic sites program is managed with input from several church departments. This collaborative process adds a lot to the sites, and even if it takes a little more time, the end product is usually much better.

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