‘The Birth of Christ’

Although the Church History Museum in downtown Salt Lake City has closed its doors for major renovations, patrons are still able to enjoy “in-house” works of art this holiday season. The beginning of December marked the launch of an online exhibit, titled “Birth of Christ,” that showcases artwork from the Church History Museum’s collection.

“We hope that [participants] take time to reflect on the Savior and the significance in that event in their personal lives and in their families,” said Kevin Nielson, the product manager of history.lds.org.

The online exhibit takes participants through four parts highlighting the birth of Jesus Christ — the Annunciation, His birth, a section about shepherds and Nativity scenes from around the world.

“We have collected many of those works of art during the International Art Competition held every three years,” Brother Nielson said. “We have pieces from all around the world.”

The online exhibit’s layout is a large timeline, allowing participants to scroll through the different pieces of art at their own pace. Participants have the ability to scroll over the images to see the information — title and artist — and are able to see the entire work of art larger by clicking on the image. A navigation tool at the bottom of the page makes the exhibit easy to use on a tablet.

The exhibit’s narrative comes from the scriptures and includes excerpts from the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. The simple text was an effort to keep the exhibit scripturally focused.

“We have a global Church, and we want to reach out to that global audience,” Brother Nielson said. “We have kept the text simple and familiar.”

But this exhibit is only the beginning of online exhibits focused on Christ. Over the next three months more exhibits will be available as a resource for Church members anywhere.

“Next year’s course of study will be the New Testament,” he said. “We wanted to create some resources for members of the Church to enhance their study of the New Testament this year, and a resource for them to use at home. … We hope that when Sunday School teachers are looking for something these exhibits will appear in their search results.”

The plan is to have an exhibit in January about the life of Christ and His personal ministry. February will focus on the teachings of Christ and the parables He taught, while the month of March will focus on the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ.

Most of the art included in the exhibits come from the Church’s International Art competition. The museum is currently accepting art for the 10th annual International Art Competition. The call for entries came in August 2013, and submission dates began in November 2014. Art submissions will be accepted until Feb. 27, 2015, in preparation for an exhibit to go from the fall of 2014 through the summer of 2016.

To access the online exhibit visit www.history.lds.org/exhibit/birth-of-christ?lang=eng. For more information about the art competition visit: http://history.lds.org/article/international-art-competitions-details?lang=eng.

[email protected] @marianne_holman