Statue from the US to be unveiled at Emigrant Museum in Norway
For generations, it has been an LDS icon, one of the most famous artworks of Mormonism. Now, a copy of Torleif S. Knaphus’ “Handcart Pioneers” sculpture, viewed by millions of Temple Square visitors over the years, will grace the Norwegian Emigrant Museum in Ottestad, Norway, about a two-hour drive north of Oslo.
The sculpture will be unveiled on June 7 in a prominent location outside the museum along a pathway between the museum’s research center and church. The event will be marked by a celebration and formal unveiling, with Norwegian dignitaries to be invited.
The sculpture is a casting from the 3-feet-high original commissioned in 1924 by the Daughters of Utah Handcart Pioneers. That work was displayed for decades in the old Bureau of Information Building on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, where the South Visitors Center now stands.
“It is a natural fit to have a statue about emigrants by a Norwegian emigrant be placed at the Norwegian Emigrant Museum,” said Allen P. Gerritsen, a Knaphus grandson and representative of the Knaphus (pronounced kuh-NOP-hoos) Family Organization.
Knaphus (1881-1965) was a Norwegian convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who emigrated to Salt Lake City in 1905, where he created many sculptures and paintings, some with LDS themes. Many of the sculptures were commissioned by the church. Besides the handcart statue, perhaps his most famous work is the Hill Cumorah Monument in Palmyra, N.Y., depicting the angel Moroni.
For more information about The Emigrant Museum visit: Museumsnett.no