Pioneers seen through the eyes of children

LDS children around the world know what it means to be a pioneer.

In hundreds of artistic renderings of pioneers, children recognized that long ago Adam and Eve, Columbus and Joseph Smith were pioneers; that today President Gordon B. Hinckley, visiting teachers in Peru, and South African children who attend Primary in a garage are pioneers; and that future pioneers may do missionary work in space or temple work in countries that currently don't have temples.As part of the Museum of Church History and Art's new exhibit, "Latter-day Saint Pioneers of the Past, Present and Future," children between the ages of 5 and 11 created artwork of pioneers from mediums such as color paper, crayons, chalk and playdough.

The exhibit, which will be on display from Jan. 18 through Oct. 12, is part of the 1997 sesquicentennial celebration commemorating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.

The 300 drawings on display in the gallery were selected from more than 1,900 entries submitted by young artists living in 43 states and 27 countries. Another 300 honorable mention entries are displayed in file books in the gallery.

For the exhibit, two brothers crafted the voyage of the Brooklyn with color paper. Another youngster re-created the "War between Crickets and Seagulls." One 5-year-old drew a simple picture of "a pioneer and his horse."

"They just put it very simply - they are just very honest and forthright," said Marilyn Chris Clark, Church Service missionary and exhibit curator. "Children's work is refreshing."

Sister Clark said that after visiting the exhibit, Church members will have a better understanding of what it means to be a pioneer.

"This is a picture of me in a car!" wrote 5-year-old Spencer Admodt of the Farmington 4th Ward, Farmington Utah South Stake, on the back of his creation. "I didn't walk a long way but I can be a pioneer today. I can work hard, choose the right and never ever give up."

For her submission, Miguel Angel Gardie, 9, of the Carupano 2nd Branch, Venezuela Barcelona Mission, made a timeline of her "pioneer" family - including her parents' baptism, the creation and division of her branch, her baptism, and the construction of the meetinghouse in her city. Finally Miguel drew herself as a pioneer, explaining "I share my testimony with my friends."

Katrina Merrilyn Klingenberg, 9, of the Skyline Ward, Eagle Rock Utah Stake, imagined pioneer children of the future. In her picture "pioneer children are on the moon praying for other pioneer children to arrive safely."

Tae Too Bae, a 7-year-old member of the DongDooChun Branch, Seoul Korea Mission, looked to the scriptures to find his pioneer. "Nephi is a pioneer because he was an example to his brothers," he wrote on the back of a water color and crayon depiction of Nephi and his brothers traveling to the promised land in a boat.

Sister Clark said that selecting and labeling children's pictures of past, present and future pioneers was more than a lot of work - "it was a lot of fun."

The museum is located at 45 N. West Temple Street in Salt Lake City. It is open free of charge seven days a week.

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