Friday, January 27, 2017
A Preview Visit to the Salt Lake City Family History Library Family Discover Center
My wife and I recently received an invitation to a very advanced tour of the almost completed Family Discovery Center on the first floor of the world-famous Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have been watching the remodeling effort for some time now and anticipating the results of removing the books, shelves and study areas with an updated replacement. We were asked not to publish any photos until after the official opening on February 7th, 2017 on the opening day of #RootsTech 2017 so I will wait to publish the photos until then. We did notice that a film crew was in the new Family Discovery Center filming a promotional video.
We have visited the Family Discovery Center in the Joesph Smith Memorial building, just east of Temple Square but the new facility is very impressive and obviously much more accessible. In discussing the new Center during our visit, we were told that there are a huge number of "casual" visitors to the Family History Library, such as Chinese tour groups, that will benefit directly from the Family Discovery Center exhibits.
We tried almost all of the exhibits and found them to be very engaging. I am not sure what I expected, but the new Center exceeded all my expectations. I also discovered that my wife and I are related, at least according to the FamilySearch.org Family Tree more ways than we previously knew about. I suspect that the exhibits will be in high demand and there may be times when they are overwhelmed once the facility opens to the public.
During the time we were there, I saw several people I knew and got their impressions of the Family Discovery Center. Overall, the reactions were extremely positive. We were told that people from the surrounding business area, including the Family History Museum and workers on Temple Square, had been given tours and the volunteers at the Family Discovery Center learned that even though many of them had lived in Salt Lake City all their lives, they had not ever visited the Family History Library. Perhaps their experience with the Family Discovery Center will encourage further visits to the Library.
We made a quick visit to other parts of the Family History Library and found construction on other floors. It looks like some remodeling and freshening up of the Library is being done throughout the facility. They plan to be done by RootsTech 2017. I will be very busy at RootsTech 2017, but I do have one activity planned at the new Family Discovery Center.
I was wondering why I was chosen for a preview visit, but the answer was simply that I was a "professional genealogist," I guess there are a few perks from writing constantly.