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Preserving history, connecting families and improving the local community are three core practices of the Latter-day Saint life. Wednesday’s opening of the Museum of the American Revolution (MoAR) is a combination of each.
MoAR, located just a few minutes away from the Church’s new temple in downtown Philadelphia, tells the complete story of the American revolutionary era that dates from 1760 to 1783, when the 13 American colonies broke away from the British Empire and formed the United States of America.
The museum was made possible in part by a donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“We’re very grateful for the support of the LDS Church,” said MoAR CEO Michael Quinn. “Their support has come in many ways, and it totals roughly two and a half million dollars. It’s not just financial support. It is lending the expertise, especially in the FamilySearch branch of the Church.”
A significant portion of this donation goes toward the museum’s discovery center, sponsored by the Church’s nonprofit genealogy arm, FamilySearch, and set to open in the fall of 2017. The discovery center will include digital interactive exhibits for children and families, as well as tactile exhibits to help individuals connect personally with the Revolutionary War. Many people will be able to continue their journey to discovery at FamilySearch.org if they have ancestors who fought for the cause of freedom.
“As the patrons immerse themselves in these experiences at the museum, not only will they learn more of what life was like, but their hearts will definitely turn,” said Stephen Rockwood, managing director of the Church’s Family History Department and the CEO of FamilySearch International. “Their hearts will turn to their homeland, whether it’s an ancestral homeland or a brand‑new homeland for immigrants. Their hearts will turn to their fathers and their hearts will turn to each other. And that’s why we do this.”
In addition to the genealogical learning one will be able to engage in at MoAR, Quinn said of equal importance are the museum’s historical artifacts people will see. The chief exhibit is George Washington’s tent — the place he slept, ate and made decisions that determined the success of the revolution.
Patrons will also learn the foundational ideas on which the United States was built. “These are the sacred truths on which our nation is founded—concepts of equality, of freedom, of religious freedom — and we want to espouse those values,” Quinn said. “It’s wonderful to have the Church and other members of our community join together to teach that lesson to rising generations.”