Museum exhibit unfolds stories of Old Testament

There's Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel. Abraham, Hagar, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.

A new exhibit at the Museum of Church History and Art can help children today learn of the stories of these, and other, Old Testament people.The exhibit, "Tell Me a Story: Truths from the Old Testament," features 22 illustrations created in England early in the 20th Century for three children's Bible story books. Supplementing these in the display are four acrylic paintings by Latter-day Saint artist Jerry M. Harston.

Curator Marjorie D. Conder said the children's exhibit, which will open Jan. 17, is designed for a young audience. Pictures are hung lower, at an optimal viewing height for children. Most of the art - in media varying from water colors, oils and acrylics - was created for children. The texts for the exhibit are also written at a third-grade level, said Sister Conder.

Near the exhibit, children can sit on couches and floor cushions and read illustrated Bible story books - written for youngsters of all ages. "Children and parents can spend quiet time here together," said Sister Conder.

Also, at scheduled times, museum volunteers will conduct Bible-story reading sessions.

"The Old Testament is filled with stories which testify of the dealing of God with the children of Israel," Sister Conder said. "The stories contain messages of faith, commitment, integrity, courage and devotion that can apply to all of us today."

The display complements the 1998 Sunday School course of study.

Sister Conder hopes Church members will take time to enjoy the exhibit with their children. "The pictures are attractive," she said. "They are approachable to children and the text is child-appropriate."

The exhibit begins with art depicting some of the first stories in the Bible: Adam naming the animals, the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, and Cain slaying Abel. It continues with stories of Abraham leaving Haran, Noah and the ark, Abraham offering to sacrifice Isaac, Isaac blessing Jacob, and Joseph and the coat of many colors.

Among the other works on exhibit are portrayals of Moses in the bulrushes, the Passover, the battle of Jericho, the boy Samuel, David the shepherd, Solomon as judge, King David, Elijah and the priest of Baal, Elijah ascending into heaven, and Daniel before King Nebuchadnezzar.

Children can even learn about lesser-know Old Testament characters - such as King Uzziah.

Sister Conder said she is excited to be involved with an exhibit that focuses on children. She has watched parents hoist their children up to look at paintings in other exhibits. With this exhibit, she said, "children can have a good museum experience on their own level."

The museum is located west of Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. It is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. "Tell Me a Story: Truths from the Old Testament" will be on display through April 26.

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