"Our guests, particularly those who are completely new to family history, will be able to enjoy fun, personal discoveries through interactive technological experiences with their family's history."
Tamra Stansfield, manager of the Family History Library
Salt Lake City,
10
October
2016

Family History Library Begins Construction of New Discovery Center

The popular Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City has begun construction on its new Family History Discovery Center. When complete, the main floor attraction will create family history experiences for patrons of all ages. The project is on a fast track to be completed in February 2017. Admission will be free to the public.

"We have been excited for quite some time to start construction on the new discovery center," said Tamra Stansfield, manager of the Family History Library. "Our guests, particularly those who are completely new to family history, will be able to enjoy fun, personal discoveries through interactive technological experiences with their family's history."

Stansfield said the new center will make the library another unique and exciting destination for locals, families, and youth groups, as well as for tourists of all ages visiting Utah or Temple Square from around the world.

The Family History Library is the flagship facility in a network of over 4,900 family history centers worldwide managed by FamilySearch International, a nonprofit subsidiary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The fun, engaging activities designed for the discovery center are part of an organizational effort to introduce more people to the many fun facets of personal and family discovery.

FamilySearch is learning that if individuals and families have fun, personalized, quick successes and experiences with their family’s history, they will continue to be more involved at different levels throughout their lives. It also deepens appreciation for family connections across multiple generations.

The new discovery center will create a fun environment for families to discuss their family history together in inviting, unexpected ways. Youth particularly will enjoy the life-size touch-screen computer monitors for some of the interactive stations. In addition, there will be an enclosed space for parents with smaller children that will allow them to explore their family history while also being able to observe their children play.

A fun green-screen feature will let guests choose from a variety of themed backgrounds to create a lasting photo memory of their visit to the discovery center.

The new transformations are designed to offer unique interactive and immersive discovery experiences for visitors of all ages while still offering the vast collections and expertise the library is known for among family history enthusiasts and researchers.

When the new discovery center opens, "We expect to find the next generation of dedicated family historians at play in our library," said Stansfield.

Many of the interactive features in the new discovery center will use a patron's family history in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree to create custom learning experiences at a variety of stations. Stansfield suggests individuals and families take the time now during construction to create a free account at FamilySearch.org from home and begin building their family tree, adding favorite family stories and photos together. A developed family tree will enhance their experience when the discovery center opens in 2017.

The Family History Library's staff and other typical services and historic record collections will continue to be accessible during the construction of the discovery center.

The prototype discovery center currently located in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City will be closed to the public once the new center is opened in 2017 but will continue to operate as a FamilySearch development lab, where future experiences can be created and tested. A smaller discovery center was opened earlier this year in Seattle, Washington.

If you would like to follow the new center's construction progress, a time-lapse camera link is available online here.

About FamilySearch

About FamilySearchFamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,921 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Comments 1 - 9 (9)
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Sarah
09
January
2017
I visited the prototype center (at the Joseph Smith building) last year with an out of state guest who was in town to do research. I saw great potential in it. I am hopeful that features will be added to make the experience work well for individuals that don't already have a Family Search tree and have non LDS/non US ancestry.
Laura Booth
13
November
2016
I remember seeing an early press release stating that a discovery center is also planned for Philadelphia, PA, is this true?
Paul Nauta
16
November
2016
Laura, There are plans to have something like a FamilySearch Discovery Center experience in the Museum of the American Revolution being built in Philadelphia. The details of what experiences will be offered have not been announced.
susan young
12
November
2016
Good morning, Does the discovery center have the 1890 NYC Police Census indexed , all the books? Thank you. Susan
Paul Nauta
16
November
2016
Susan, your inquiry has been forwarded to FamilySearch Support at support.familysearch.org.
Connie Bradbury
27
October
2016
Where exactly will the new Discovery Center be located? Sounds like an amazing project.
Paul Nauta
28
October
2016
Connie, I presume you are referring to the new Discovery Center under construction in the Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City? It will be on the main floor. Targeted opening date is February 2017. Here is the link to the newsroom article for more information and photos. Thanks! http://media.familysearch.org/family-history-library-begins-construction-of-new-discovery-center/
Brenda Bowman
27
October
2016
I'm looking forward to finding how more about what activities will be offered that's geared to younger children. Our FHC just hosted a cub pack that was doing a "cemetery crawl" scavenger hunt. We had them in small groups competiting for who could work out all the clues and find the record of famous dead people. Everyone from Elvis to Jack the Ripper. They were using advanced google searches, premium websites and if course family tree. If they got stuck there were more "clues" given. The purpose was to have them learn to use the software in a way that was fun. Hopefully they'll go home and show their parents a thing or two about how to navigate these sites for other names their parents would like them to try to find.
Elaine Roderick
27
October
2016
This is amazing news, especially that we can access information everywhere. Thank you!
Donna Wilkins
18
October
2016
I am an experienced genealogist. I live in the Thanksgiving Point area. I am also excited about this new center being so close to my home. Will this new center have a large computer area for those who just want to go on line to do research? I travel to Riverton often and enjoy the center off of 13400 South. So how many computers will be available for experienced research enthusiasts? Thank you. Donna
Paul Nauta
20
October
2016
If you are referencing the new Discovery Center being built in the Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City, the Family History Library has over 500 patron computers available for research enthusiasts located throughout the Library. Within the future Discovery Center will be about 36 computers, mainly dedicated to guests with children and those who are new to family history.
Richard Price
17
October
2016
Where will the new Discovery Center be located?
Paul Nauta
17
October
2016
The new discovery center will be located on the main floor of the Family History Library.
Antonio Ljubetic
17
October
2016
Please help me with information on FRANE LJUBETIC ZUANIC, born in CROATIA, BRAC Island, town SUTIVAN in August 4, 1870 and expired in ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE, SOUTH AMERICA in 1937. Married to LUCIJA RENDIC JUTRONIC. FRANE'S father was IVAN LJUBETIC and his mother was MAGDALENA ZUANIC. Thank you very much, Antonio Ljubetic, 29312 North Begonias Lane, Canyon Country, California, 91387.
Paul Nauta
17
October
2016
Antonio, Please use the Facebook group "Eastern Europe Genealogy Research Community" to receive personal research assistance. You can also try your local Family History Center.
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