The Relief Society Building sits on Temple Square and although we have been to Temple Square many times, we have never noticed it. It is a small building just east of the Salt Lake Temple, just north of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.
When we walked in to the building, we were greeted by a guide who showed us around the building. We began in the lobby where we learned about the mission of the Relief Society and how the Relief Society was formed by Joseph Smith as part of the Restoration of the Gospel. We also saw examples of humanitarian kits and pictures of sisters who are serving in their communities.
Our boys got really interested when we learned about the history of the building. In 1945, the prophet asked every Relief Society Sister worldwide to donate $5 to help build this building. At the time there were 100,000 members of the Relief Society, and the church would match the funds donated. It took a few years, but they raised the money from these sisters to build a building. They have a list of every sister that donated to the cause, and we spent some time looking for our grandmas and great-grandmas. We found 4 of our relatives, and might have found more if Dad had been with us to think of more names. Our boys loved looking for their ancestors!
We then went into a large room where there are items on display that sisters from around the world donated to build the building. Often the Relief Society members outside of the United States couldn’t send money, or raise money since the building was built just after WWII, but they tried to send beautiful items to display. There is also a room with all the past Presidents of Relief Society, Primary, and Young Women.
Inside this building are many original Minerva Teichert paintings. We admired them all and our guide explained many details in the paintings that helped us appreciate them even more.
The second floor is used for offices of the General Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary Presidencies. We were able to go into the basement where there are several displays showing the curriculum and messages of Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society. This floor is called the Resource Center and it is put together to help strengthen families. We looked at everything in the Primary section because that is what is most familiar to our boys. We went a little more quickly through the other sections, but there were some fun things to see like the original Young Women’s uniform (looks like an old scout uniform) and some history on the Relief Society Presidents. Unfortunately, they are phasing this section of the museum out, so you might not catch it if you visit after they’ve removed the display.
We had a great time in this small museum, and we learned a great deal. Our boys were very patient listeners, since it was a more serious tour. But they said that they liked it, especially looking for family names. Make sure to come prepared with some of your family names who would have been Relief Society members in 1945. It helps make the trip more personal.
The Relief Society Building is open M-F from 9-4:30. For more ideas of things to do on Temple Square with kids, click here!