Summarized by Kent Larsen
Nauvoo Restoration Opens New Family Living Center
Burlington IA Hawkeye 31May00 D1
By Stephen A. Martin: The Hawk Eye
NAUVOO, ILLINOIS -- The LDS Church's Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. opened a new
Family Living Center in Nauvoo Saturday to give tourists a look at the
crafts used by Nauvoo residents in the 1840s. Missionaries at the center
demonstrate crafts like breadmaking, rope making, spinning and quilting for
The center took nearly two years of planning and construction, and funds for
the program included grants from the state of Illinois, in a first of its
kind joint venture arrangement. The new building provides missionaries in
Nauvoo a place to demonstrate traditional crafts year-round. Previously,
missionaries could only demonstrate these crafts during the summer months.
One of the missionaries working in the new center is Deena Alvey of
Hanksville, Utah. Alvey says that the crafts help people understand life in
the 1840s, "When you start trying these projects, you get a lot of respect
for the pioneers," she said. She found that even baking bread, admittedly in
an old-time bustle oven that she's never used before, is a challenge. "It's
trial and error, but that's OK," says Alvey.
In the center, visitors move from exhibit to exhibit, watching missionaries
demonstrate a craft in each exhibit. In most of the exhibits, visitors get a
chance to take part in the demonstration, touching, tasting or helping to do
the work. LDS missionary John Elsey, for example, has children help him
making lengths of rope, and generally surprises them by letting them keep
the rope for jump ropes, "You see a lot of smiles on kids' faces," he said.
His wife, Mavis Elsey, says that even though she was a teacher, it is being
a grandparent that helped prepare her for the experience. And she says that
others at the center have the same experience, "We've got a lot of good,
talented grandmas around here," she said.
The center will be open daily from 9 am to 6 pm, but missionaries get the
day off on Sunday, so no demonstrations are available then.