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Two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning author David McCullough told Church History Library employees recently that “history doesn’t stay alive unless it’s looked after.”

McCullough made his remarks at the soon-to-be-dedicated Church History Library in downtown Salt Lake City. For a little over an hour, he shared stories about his experiences studying the Founding Fathers, including what they wrote and what they read, and emphasized the value of learning history.

McCullough also praised those in attendance for providing a tremendous service to the country.  “You are truly doing the Lord’s work, because it matters. And if we don’t do it we are not fulfilling our responsibility as citizens. Not just as members of the Church but as citizens.”

Speaking of Church history, the two-time National Book Award winner expressed his appreciation for what he called the “epic” story of the Latter-day Saints.  “You are caring for a national treasure here. The story of the Latter-day Saints, of Joseph Smith, of Brigham Young, and that incredible migration here is a great American story.”

In 2006, McCullough received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award a United States citizen can receive. A public open house will be held at the library on 12–13 June, and the library officially opens 22 June.

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Other David McCullough items you may be interested in:

  • David McCullough speaks on the importance of teaching and learning history, here.
  • The Glorious Cause of America,” an address given by David McCullough at Brigham Young University, 27 September 2005.
  • A trailer, and the title sequence, for the outstanding 2008 HBO miniseries “John Adams,” based on David McCullough’s landmark biography of the second President.
  • David McCullough introducing viewers to the HBO production of his biography of John Adams, including interesting comments about the significance of learning history today.