Well, it was a whirlwind of activity last week: I was asked on Tues. by the History Department of the LDS Church to be at the Hyde Park Chapel in London England for a 3 pm meeting on Thurs. to discuss the removal of the mural. That meant, of course, taking the red eye flight on Wed. (btw, I enjoyed taking New Zealand Air for the first time, non stop from LA to London).
I made it, just in time, to my meeting on Thurs. by cutting through Hyde Park (a really nice park) and the first thing I saw when coming out of the park was the Victoria Albert Concert Hall and the Price Albert Memorial… I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
The Patient under examination, as I discussed in Part 1, is the famous mural that was a focal point in the Mormon Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in NYC.
In 1962, Elder Harold B. Lee of the Council of the Twelve was appointed Executive Director of the Mormon Pavilion and he gave the charge that a film depicting “the three great questions of life: where we came from, our purpose and reason for being here upon the earth, and what happens to us after death” be produced. Many of us remember the film that was made for the fair, Man’s Search For Happiness. The mural depicts the
phases of life illustrated in the film. Visitors who came through the pavilion at the World’s Fair commented. One wrote, “For about a half hour after we left the theatre, we hardly spoke to each other. …“My wife broke the silence by asking: ‘Can you believe it?’ “I knew what she meant by ‘it.’ ‘It’ referred to your Gospel and the message we got from the movie. My response—‘Yes, I can believe it and it is a wonderful thing to believe …’
During and after the Fair, the mural was used in films, filmstrips, teaching illustrations and PR images internationally and, perhaps was one of the best recognized images of the church in the 1960′s and 1970′s. Once the fair was over, it was mounted on a wall in the Hyde Park Chapel. It has been there ever since.
Testing the possibility of removal, once I got there, brought a sigh of relief to me: I could see that I could make happen the separation of the canvas from the wall in a safe and cost effective way… and that brought a sign of relief from the people who sent me to London! As I said in the first blog post, prior to seeing the mural first hand, I had no way of knowing if this project was going to cost $10,000 or $250,000 by simply hearing descriptions over the phone. I mean, by goodness, I wasn’t even given the right dimensions of the mural. It turns out it was 1/2 the size I thought it was going to be.
So, given the positive results from my testing, it was decided to remove the mural immediately, while I was there. It was a 2 day process. Once again, as I said before, the mural was removed because of the impending extensive renovation involving demolition. The LDS History Department is gratified that events have worked out to save such an important and fondly remembered mural from destruction.
Here is the video I shot of the removal of the mural from the wall.
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