Museum Treasures

Learn about the art and artifacts available at the Church History Museum.

Museum Treasures

Museum Treasures
Heirloom of Faith: Maria Bentley Christian Linford’s Wedding Dress
Maria Linford married her husband, John, in this dress in 1833. Twenty-three years later, she buried him on the plains of Wyoming en route to Utah.
Museum Treasures
Joseph Smith’s Personal Effects from the Nauvoo Legion
A blue woolen cloak, brass epaulets, a sword and scabbard, and a pistol stand among the Prophet Joseph Smith’s personal effects as evidence of his position as lieutenant general in the Nauvoo Legion.
Museum Treasures
Joseph Smith: Prophet and City Leader
The sign that once labeled Joseph Smith’s office in Nauvoo’s Red Brick Store draws attention to his position as prophet, yet it hung in a place where he filled many additional roles.
Museum Treasures
Wilford Woodruff’s Clock
This beautiful clock was finely crafted by Henry Connor in 1841, and it was purchased by Wilford Woodruff as a gift for his wife Phebe during his first mission to England.
Museum Treasures
David W. Patten’s Rifle, Watch, and Powder Horn
Before sunrise on October 25, 1838, David W. Patten donned this watch and carried his rifle and powder horn, intending to rescue three Latter-day Saint hostages from renegade Missouri militiamen.
Museum Treasures
Brigham Young’s Thimble
This particular sewing aid is known as a tailor’s thimble, and it belonged to a skilled carpenter, community builder, and latter-day prophet—a man some now call an American Moses.
Museum Treasures
Sally Phelps’s Hymnal
In July 1830, Joseph Smith received a revelation directed to his wife, Emma, that would bring greater harmony to congregations and homes for generations to come. The Lord called Emma to “make a selection of sacred hymns” (Doctrine and Covenants 25:11), thus confirming divine approval of worshipful music in church services and solidifying what would become a longstanding tradition of reverent hymnody among the Latter-day Saints.
Museum Treasures
Mary Whitmer and Maria Louise Cowdery Samplers
Mary Whitmer and Maria Louise Cowdery belonged to families who played vital roles in the Restoration of the gospel from its earliest days.
Museum Treasures
Samuel Smith: Missionary to Prophets
Samuel H. Smith, though not as well known as his older brothers Joseph and Hyrum Smith, played an influential role in the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Museum Treasures
The Book of Mormon from Manuscript to Press
The original manuscript of the Book of Mormon contains few punctuation marks or paragraph breaks. Though the Book of Mormon text has since been updated with corrections, the precious truths it contains have remained unchanged through the centuries.
Museum Treasures
Joseph Smith’s Heritage
Both of Joseph’s grandfathers had experiences and beliefs that influenced the Smith family and prepared Joseph to be the Prophet of the Restoration.
Museum Treasures
A True Treasure Chest
This simple wooden box may not be an impressive sight on its own, but what it held—even briefly—is one of the greatest treasures of our time.
Museum Treasures
Lucy Mack Smith’s Gold Bead
This tiny gold bead is easy to overlook among all the larger pieces in the museum, but it carries a story that gives us important insight into the faith and character of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s parents.
Museum Treasures
Hyrum Smith: A Man of Mildness and Integrity
These artifacts are perhaps the most intimate remembrance of the martyrdom of Hyrum Smith: they are the clothes Hyrum was wearing when he was killed, the watch he carried in his pocket that day, and a pair of sunglasses he owned.
Museum Treasures
The Articles and Covenants of the Church
This document is one of several known handwritten copies of the Articles and Covenants of the Church, which would later become section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Museum Treasures
“A Day of God’s Power”
This red silk handkerchief is a vivid reminder of both Joseph Smith’s compassion and the power of God to heal the sick.
Museum Treasures
The Nauvoo Temple: Built by Faith and Community
When the Prophet Joseph Smith proposed that the temple in Nauvoo be built by tithing Church members, the Saints responded with energy.
Museum Treasures
Sermons of a Palmyra Preacher
Joseph Smith likely heard from many preachers in the years preceding the First Vision. Two he may have encountered in his search for the true Church were Reverend Jesse Townsend and Reverend George Lane.
Museum Treasures
Martin Harris, the Great Benefactor
This simple leather wallet belonged to Martin Harris, who is arguably one of the more complicated figures in early Church history.
Museum Treasures
Mourning the Prophet
Thirteen-year-old Mary Ann Broomhead stitched this sampler as a tribute to Joseph and Hyrum Smith shortly after their martyrdom.
Museum Treasures
“Something Extraordinary”: The Beginnings of the Relief Society
This chandelier hung in the upper room of the Red Brick Store, where the Relief Society was organized.
Museum Treasures
Who Killed Joseph Smith?
While we do not know the name of the man who owned this powder horn, we do know the names of several men who helped organize and carry out the plan to kill the Prophet Joseph.
Museum Treasures
John Taylor’s Miracle
This watch was in John Taylor’s vest pocket during the martyrdom at Carthage Jail, and Brother Taylor, who later became President of the Church, believed that it saved his life.
Museum Treasures
Stephen Markham’s Cane
Stephen Markham’s hickory “rascal beater” was made famous when it helped defend Joseph Smith from attackers at Carthage Jail.
Museum Treasures
William Weeks: Architect of the Nauvoo Temple
The original Nauvoo Temple was an inspired masterpiece of architecture and craftsmanship. The Prophet Joseph Smith directed the work, but architect William Weeks translated those directions into workable plans.
Museum Treasures
Newel K. Whitney: A Man of Faith and Service
Even the most unremarkable item becomes a treasure when it is connected to someone we care about. What makes this particular lap desk a treasure is that it was owned and used by Newel K. Whitney, an early member of the Church and a friend and support to the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Museum Treasures
Brigham Young the Carpenter
Many who know of Brigham Young know little of his life before he became a prophet. This wood lathe from Brigham Young’s carpentry shop in Mendon, New York, sheds light on a lesser-known chapter in the life of this great man.
Museum Treasures
Blessings amidst Tragedy
This piece of cast-iron machinery is one of the few remaining pieces of the gristmill owned by Jacob Hawn. This mill was the site of what is now known as the Hawn’s Mill massacre.
Museum Treasures
A Window of Heaven
Built by brothers Brigham and Joseph Young, this gothic-arched window originally hung in the main-floor assembly room of the Kirtland Temple, a silent witness to the devotion of early Latter-day Saints and the outpouring of spiritual knowledge and manifestations they received.
Museum Treasures
David Whitmer’s Trunk
This hide-covered traveling case belonged to David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon. Although it is unclear when or where David may have used this case, it is a tangible link to a key figure in early Latter-day Saint history.
Museum Treasures
Nauvoo: A Temporary Refuge
This map of Nauvoo was first printed in 1842 by Gustavus Hills, a recently converted member of the Church, and it illustrates the Saints’ optimistic expectations for their city. Members of the Church thought they had finally found a permanent home in Illinois. This is where they would build Zion.
Museum Treasures
Lewis A. Ramsey’s Painting of the Angel Moroni
Church leaders commissioned this painting from artist Lewis A. Ramsey in 1923 for the centennial of Moroni’s first visit to Joseph Smith. It was perhaps the first depiction of this sacred event in Church history by a trained artist, and for many years it was included in the large-print edition of the Book of Mormon.
Museum Treasures
The Grandin Press: A Vital Tool of the Restoration
This printing press is from the shop of Egbert B. Grandin in Palmyra, New York. Modern for its time, the Smith Patented Improved Press greatly simplified the printing process and allowed the pressman to make an impression with one pull of a lever. It was this very printing press that issued the first copies of the Book of Mormon in 1830.
Museum Treasures
Nauvoo Temple Sunstones
To early Church members, the sun breaking through clouds symbolized the dawning of the Restoration and the coming of gospel light to illuminate a dark earth. It is little wonder, then, that sunstones were featured prominently on the Nauvoo Temple.
Museum Treasures
Heber C. Kimball’s Tool Chest
When we speak of building the kingdom of God today, most of the time we mean it in a figurative sense: we serve in the Church, share the gospel with others, and follow the counsel of the living prophet. Heber C. Kimball did all of these things, but as a blacksmith and potter, he also built the kingdom in a literal sense.
Museum Treasures
Engraving of Nauvoo Temple Remains
By the time London-trained artist Frederick Piercy traveled through Nauvoo in 1853, the crumbling facade was all that remained of the Nauvoo Temple.
Museum Treasures
The First Vision Stained Glass
Although stained glass is no longer popular in Latter-day Saint meetinghouses, this window is a beautiful reminder of the First Vision, a pivotal moment in history and a cornerstone of Latter-day Saint faith.
Museum Treasures
Joseph and Hyrum Death Masks
June 27, 1844, was a dark day in Nauvoo, Illinois, as Church members received word that their beloved prophet, Joseph Smith, and his brother Hyrum had been killed at Carthage Jail. Friends guarded their bodies in Carthage until the next day, when they were brought home to Nauvoo.
Museum Treasures
A Man of Courage and Refinement: Willard Richards’s Grooming Kit
This grooming kit, owned by Dr. Willard Richards, shows the refined side of a faithful and courageous man of God. Richards was trained as a doctor of herbal medicine and cultivated an air of respectability and refinement appropriate to his profession. He shaved his face clean until his death in 1854 and regularly had his hair cut, combed, and curled.
Museum Treasures
Remembering Nauvoo
A young English girl named Ann Eckford created this cross-stitch sampler of the Nauvoo Temple sometime between 1846 and 1849, probably as part of her formal education. The sampler represents some of the “growing pains” in Latter-day Saint history, when policy and procedure were still unestablished.
Museum Treasures
Brigham Young’s Travel Case
If you were forging a trail across unfamiliar territory in a covered wagon, what would you bring with you? How would you carry it?
Museum Treasures
Hymns of the Trail
In their journals and reminiscences, many Mormon pioneers write of singing while crossing the plains, often ending the day with music. In the 19th century, most hymnals included only the words to the hymns, not the music. Hymns and other songs were sung to familiar tunes and could often be sung to more than one tune.
Museum Treasures
The Gift of Music
When George Wardle played music, people listened. Music was part of his very being. One of his granddaughters recalled, “He would play any and every musical instrument.”
Museum Treasures
Levi Hancock Journal: “All the Good I Can”
In January 1847, the Mormon Battalion staggered into San Diego, California, having just completed a grueling march from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Museum Treasures
Mormon Battalion Bullet Pouch
Captain Daniel C. Davis of the Mormon Battalion carried this bullet pouch the entire way from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to California, but he never fired a shot in combat. None of the battalion members did. Although the battalion was formed in a time of war, its legacy is one of peace.
Museum Treasures
This Leg Walked to Zion
Imagine the faith and perseverance needed to pull a handcart more than 1,000 miles across the plains. Now imagine the faith and determination you’d need to pull a handcart while walking on a peg leg. Thomas David Evans had that kind of faith, wearing this leg as he crossed the plains from June 23 to October 2, 1856.
Museum Treasures
The Center of the City
Have you ever wondered why Salt Lake City addresses sound like math coordinates? It’s because they are. Salt Lake City is laid out in a grid, with a center point at the intersection of a base line (running east-west) and a meridian (running north-south). But how did that center point get decided?
Museum Treasures
Brigham Young’s Spyglass
Brigham Young used this collapsible brass and leather spyglass on the first trip to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Members of the company used spyglasses like this to scout the trail, search for game, and watch for danger.
Museum Treasures
One Tool That Built the West: Orson Pratt’s Odometer
When you’re traveling an unfamiliar road in the wilderness, how do you accurately measure the distance between landmarks? How do you record the route to help the people who follow?
A Bit of Old String
Mary Whitmer’s Unheralded Contributions

Lost Sermons

Lost Sermons
Lost Sermons Introduction and Explanation
The Lost Sermons series recaptures early teachings of Church leaders, publishing excerpts of sermons recorded by George D. Watt and others beginning in 1852.
Lost Sermons
Deciphering Shorthand
Watch this brief video to learn more about George Watt, shorthand, and the Lost Sermons project.
Lost Sermons
Brigham Young, September 1864
Extracts from sermons given by Brigham Young at various settlements in Utah during a trip south in 1864.
Lost Sermons
Milo Andrus, July 17, 1853
Includes his testimony of the First Vision.
Lost Sermons
Lorenzo Snow, April 4, 1866
Excerpts from an address Lorenzo Snow delivered April 4, 1866, in Salt Lake City, recorded by George D. Watt.
Lost Sermons
Parley P. Pratt, October 31, 1852
Excerpts from an address by Parley P. Pratt on October 31, 1852, in Salt Lake City, recorded by George D. Watt.
Lost Sermons
Brigham Young, October 6, 1867
Address and prayer of dedication at the first meeting held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, given by Brigham Young on October 6, 1867, in Salt Lake City, recorded by George D. Watt.
Lost Sermons
Erastus Snow, February 20, 1853
Excerpts from an address by Erastus Snow on February 20, 1853, in Salt Lake City, recorded by George D. Watt.
Lost Sermons
John Taylor, October 10, 1852
Shortly after his return from missionary labors in France, Germany, and Great Britain, John Taylor gave this sermon in the five-year-old city of Salt Lake. The sermon gives insight into the climate of the times and the sense of possibility Latter-day Saints felt as they began to create their own communities in the Rocky Mountain region.
Lost Sermons
John Taylor, October 30, 1859
Excerpts from two sermons delivered by John Taylor on October 30, 1859, in the Old Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, recorded by George D. Watt.
Lost Sermons
Brigham Young, September 23, 1852
Excerpts from an address given at the funeral of Mary Fielding Smith, September 23, 1852, at the home of Heber C. Kimball.
Lost Sermons
Wilford Woodruff, January 9, 1864
Address given by Wilford Woodruff on January 9, 1864, in Farmington, Utah, recorded by George D. Watt.
Lost Sermons
Orson Pratt, June 20, 1852
Excerpts from two sermons delivered by Orson Pratt on June 20, 1852, in the Old Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, recorded by George D. Watt
Lost Sermons
Heber C. Kimball, October 7, 1853
Excerpts from an address by Heber C. Kimball on October 7, 1853, in Salt Lake City, recorded by George D. Watt.
Lost Sermons
Joseph Smith’s First Journal
Joseph Smith began keeping a personal record a month before he turned 27. He kept his first journal only sporadically, but the little book opens a window into the Prophet’s personality.
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