Art Free activities Museums

Roots of Knowledge at UVU Library

(Last Updated On: March 7, 2022)

What is Utah’s best art installation? Is it the uniqueness of the Spiral Jetty? The historical murals in the Capitol Dome? Something else? We visited the Roots of Knowledge stained glass exhibit at Utah Valley University Fulton Library. And we think it might be our new favorite art display in Utah.

There are a lot of things to like about this exhibit. First, it is free, which is always a winner. Second, the stained glass is absolutely stunning in detail and beauty. We spent over an hour with our boys, and they loved it. Third, you can find hidden easter eggs in the artwork.

The Roots of Knowledge Gallery is 154 feet long. This is just one section.

Roots of Knowledge

Roots of Knowledge is a large permanent, stained glass display in the library at UVU. There are around 80 huge panels of glass that take you through the history of the world. The panels are arranged from the Creation of the earth (non-religious) in panels A1-4 to the future of the earth in panels Z1-4. Between there is just about every event that you can remember from history. The roots of the Tree of Knowledge are intertwined throughout all of the panels.

There is so much to see in each individual panel.
We spent a long time looking at the details of each stained glass window.
This is just one of the panels. The colors and details are amazing.

One interesting thing that we learned is that the panels have a specific arrangement. Obviously, they are chronological from A-Z, but each letter of the alphabet has at least 3 panels. The top panel focuses on literature from the period, and the bottom panels focuses on the people and their history. As you take a stroll through history you’ll see everyone from Aristotle to Zoraster.

The images in each panel are arranged in a certain way.
This stained glass is so beautiful, even without focusing on the history.

Best of all the stained glass is beautiful. The library windows face west, and the sun shines through in brilliant colors. The docent recommended coming at sunset when the colors are even more spectacular. Some panels had objects embedded in the glass. We saw computer chips, dollar bills, and other objects included in the mural.

We went in the afternoon on a Saturday, but the docent told us that sunset is the best time.
This building is made out of computer chips.

Easter Eggs (Hidden Objects)

We were surprised at how engaged our boys were, and that was partly due to the easter eggs hidden in the mural. If you are not familiar with easter eggs, these are known objects hidden in plain sight. We believe that there are dozens, but we found:

  • The Millenium Falcon
  • The Starship Enterprise
  • The One Ring
  • A Balrog
  • Superman
  • Robin Hood
  • Waldo
  • A scene from The Princess Bride
Here is a close up of Superman!

Tours

Finally, be sure to ask questions. There is a student monitoring the mural at all times. We asked dozens of questions and were surprised at the knowledge of these young people. They will even give you a tour of the entire mural based on the time that you have. There is also an audio tour available.

Another important thing to know is about the online virtual tour. We used this tool to help us identify people that we weren’t sure about. Using the tour, you can click on an individual panel and then each object and person in that panel. It then pulls up the historical information about them. We learned a lot of new history.

The docent helped us find a few easter eggs, but then we found a lot on our own. He also answered all of our questions.
Using the virtual tour with panels that had a lot of people helped us identify and learn so much more.

Information

We can’t express how much we loved the Roots of Knowledge display. We are already planning to take members of our family who come to Utah Valley to visit. It is an unknown gem here in the heart of Utah.

The Roots of Knowledge Gallery is located in the Fulton Library at Utah Valley University (UVU). Visit their website for current hours, as well as information on parking. When we visited on a Saturday, we parked right in front of the library for FREE. There are designated spots for library visitors during the week that cost $1/hour.

Our kids were fascinated with this exhibit and talked about it for many days afterward.

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