More than a million historical items tucked away for 37 years in one location were whisked away to their new home in just 19 days in an operation that has been compared to moving the Library of Congress. The Church Office Building had been home to Mormonism’s most treasured pieces of history, but now these artifacts reside across the street at 15 East North Temple Street — the newly completed
Two hundred people, ranging in age from 19 to 91, contributed more than ten thousand man-hours to the move. A letter from professional movers at Bailey’s Moving & Storage, who moved some of the larger items, praised the efforts of Church missionaries and employees. “(We’ve) never been associated with a move of this magnitude that was as well organized and executed as this one has been.”
It was a monumental operation that began in the planning stages two years ago. Actual packing took more than a year. Each historical item had to be tagged with a bar code, placed into a box, shrink-wrapped and moved into a garage preparatory to being relocated from the Church Office Building to the Church History Library.
Those who participated in the move say they were reminded daily of the sacred nature of the work in which they were engaged. Some missionaries even extended their missions just to be a part of the historic undertaking.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offered an apostolic blessing that those charged with looking after the artifacts of the Church would do so with urgency and safety. This blessing was realized as the move was completed five days ahead of schedule without a single artifact being lost or damaged.
“The spirit of the project was very unifying,” said Heidie Davis, preservation coordinator. “It’s part of Church history and now we made Church history.”