One spot that really surprised us on our Church History tour was the Grandin Building. This is the site of the printing of the first copies of the Book of Mormon in Palmyra, New York. It is a relatively new site, and we were sure what to expect, but the Grandin Building turned out to be one of our favorites.
In 1830, Joseph Smith took his manuscript copy of the Book of Mormon to Egbert B. Grandin, a new publisher in town, and hired him to print 5,000 leather-bound copies of the book. He paid $3,000 for these books, and they took two years to finish. The Grandin Building gives you a good idea why it took so long.
This building is original, and it has been restored inside, but the tour isn’t really about the building. This tour focuses on the printing process, and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. There is a demonstration to show how the type was set, the press was inked, and the pages printed. The missionaries leading the tour give the kids (and adults) a proof sheet with 32 pages of the Book of Mormon and show them how to fold it into the beginning of the book.
Next, they demonstrate how to stitch the binding of the book. Finally, they show you how a book was leather bound. Seeing this process is really cool, and our boys were very involved and interested in the printing of the Book of Mormon. There are even a few original copies of the book on display.
The final thing at Grandin Building that is worth noting is the art. There are some really famous original paintings that Latter-Day Saints will recognize from their Book of Mormon. The famous Christ in America picture is on one wall, and it is surprisingly large. There are other originals, like Mormon and the plates. We liked the scenes from the Book of Mormon on display that we had never seen before.
The Grandin Building was one of our favorite Church History sites. We learned so much and the missionaries giving tours did a great job of involving the children in the tour. Make sure to plan an hour for it when you visit Palmyra. Check their website for current hours.