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6 places to teach your child about family, cultural history

By Celeste Tholen Rosenlof | Posted - Apr 18th, 2013 @ 1:38pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — How can you prepare a child to face challenges? Tell them family stories, suggests some research.

The research, conducted in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, has re-emerged with the publication of a recent New York Times column that talks about the "Do You Know?" scale that has children answer 20 questions about their families.

The process of acquiring the knowledge to answer the questions, notes study researcher and Emory University Professor Marshall P. Duke, is more important than the accuracy of the information. Children who have been told these family stories are better able to manage challenges.

For those who want a way to spark conversation or further their knowledge of their family's history or culture, we compiled a list of six places in Utah you could visit to learn about your past.

Family History Library

For years, people have traveled from all over the world to visit The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Family History Library in Downtown Salt Lake. Since it opened in 1894, the library has been amassing documents and genealogical records. It is the largest library of its kind in the world.

"Weaving a Revolution", a new contemporary Navajo baskets exhibit is set up at the Natural History Museum of Utah at the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. (Submission date: 01/10/2013)

While some of the library's materials have been digitized, a trip to the physical location gives you an appreciation for just how much information the library holds, and you may find something that opens up other family research.

Tours and classes are available for those who are timid about jumping into their genealogy.

Pioneer Memorial Museum

It seems every place on the historical register in Salt Lake has some tie to Mormon pioneers. The opportunities for the many Utahns with Mormon family ties to learn about their family's history far outweigh those of other faiths or nations.

One treasure for those with an early pioneer heritage — Mormon and otherwise — is the Pioneer Memorial Museum operated by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.

The museum's collections focus on the earliest settlers of the Salt Lake Valley: those who came to Utah before the railroad in 1869. It touts itself as the "world's largest collection of artifacts on one particular subject."

Natural History Museum of Utah

You can't talk about Utah's history without talking about Native Americans. The state's rich Native American history can be explored at the Natural History Museum of Utah's exhibits "First Peoples" and "Native Voices."

At "First Peoples," visitors can see a reconstruction of an archaeological dig site in Sevier County, Median Village, where some of the Great Basin's prehistoric people lived.

"Native Voices" takes a look at the traditions of Utah's Native American people using artifacts, photographs and video.

Utah Cultural Celebration Center

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Housing an art gallery, the Latino Community Center and the Chinese Heritage Friendship Gate, among other things, the Utah Cultural Celebration Center is a hub for those looking to learn about and embrace their cultural diversity.

The center features art, music, dance and other performing arts events regularly. The art gallery is currently exhibiting "Utah's Beehive," beehive-themed art and artifacts, which will be followed by a Vietnamese-themed exhibit in May.

The Price Family Holocaust Memorial

Those with Jewish ancestry — or with anyone with relatives who fought in World War II — may find this memorial a touching tribute to their family's past.

The exhibition gallery in the Jewish Community Center teaches the visitor about the Holocaust and the garden offers a quiet place to ponder.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Exhibits at the UMFA rotate regularly, accommodating a diverse collection of world art. From classical art to Warhol, Egyptian creations to that of Congo, art of all kinds can be found here.

However you decide to learn and talk about your family and cultural history, these Salt Lake places are a good place to start.

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Celeste Tholen Rosenlof

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