SALT LAKE CITY – The Museum of Church History and Art of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced today it will extend its newest exhibit, an extraordinary display of period and Latter-day historic canes, through 11 November 2001.
A century ago, common wardrobe accessories for gentlemen in the United States and Europe included not only ties and top hats, but a selection of walking sticks, or canes. Using a cane as a fashion statement was widely accepted.
“In earlier centuries you might use a cane to fend off an attack from a robber. But, besides its practical uses for defense or support, a cane also became a symbol of a person’s position in society,” said display organizer Gary Boatright.
The foyer exhibit at the museum centers around canes owned by or given as gifts to leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ. Also included are other canes made to celebrate people, places and events from Church history. It features useful canes along with some created as commemorative items or by the whimsy of a folk woodcarver.
A half dozen of the canes on display belonged to Brigham Young. Others were gifts to Lorenzo Snow, Heber J. Grant, Joseph F. Smith and N. Eldon Tanner. A cane owned by Martin Harris is on loan from the family and will be removed for display at the annual Martin Harris Pageant at Clarkston, Utah, 8-28 August.
The exhibit also includes two examples of the canes made from the oak coffin which carried Joseph Smith’s body from Carthage to Nauvoo, Illinois, in June 1844. Other unusual canes include one made from some of the first glass made in Utah and another hand-carved by George Alan Miller that depicts two dozen events from early Latter-day Saint history. Two defensive canes, one which converts into a gun and another, a 12-inch knife, are also on display.
“Along with the canes,” Boatright said, “we include a few photographs of some well-known people dressed in their top hats and black suits and holding canes as part of the fashion statement of the day. We’ve also displayed some of the clothing items from the late 19th century.”
The museum is located on West Temple Street, a half block north of the Temple Square TRAX station. Museum hours are 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and most holidays. Admission is free. For more information, call 801-240-3310.
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* Photos of Historic Canes