Cultural Hall

LOCATION: Main Street

People in Nauvoo used this community building for a variety of social and cultural events.  For the Saints, it was a reminder that spiritual and temporal (secular) aspects of life work together to strengthen social ties and form a unified community.

Experience the Cultural Hall  from your computer or smart phone in three different ways: with our Virtual Tour,  Image Gallery, or schedule a  Live Video Tour. Click on the links below to see more.
 

Virtual Tour

Take a look inside the Cultural Hall right from your computer or smart phone by checking out our 360° Photos. Click on the links during the tour to continue through the house.

Image Gallery

Peek inside the Cultural Hall as you scroll through our image gallery.

Cultural Hall
Several Church leaders had been members of the fraternal order of Masonry for many years. With three lodges and nearly 1,400 members in town, one lodge decided to build a large hall. This building was completed in early 1844 and became a hub for all kinds of activity. Its design is similar to other Masonic lodges of the 19th century.
Main Floor
The large open space on the first floor was ideal for cultural venues such as dances, art exhibits, plays, and musical productions. The current seating shown here was not part of the original structure; it is used today for theatrical performances.
Theater
An 1844 performance here of Pizarro raised money to help Joseph Smith pay legal debts arising from persecution in Missouri. Apostles Brigham Young and George A. Smith both had roles in the play.
Theater
SInce the space was flexible, several Nauvoo artists created and presented their work on this floor. For example, Philo Dibble presented a series of panoramic paintings detailing Church history.
Second Floor
This floor was used regularly as a meeting space for various groups. Teachers established small schools; business groups and unions discussed trade; and the Nauvoo Police and Nauvoo Legion met to discuss community safety.
Second Floor
Priesthood quorums of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also held meetings on this floor, even after the Seventies Hall was completed. After restoration work was completed in 1982, this floor was used for various exhibits.
Third Floor
This floor, originally used for conducting Masonic business, was removed in 1884 after the building had been converted into a home. A staircase was added on the northeast corner and other changes were made. These changes have been reversed as much as possible.
Third Floor
The cultural hall was considered such a fine space that other groups wished to build one. During a meeting of High Priests, Brigham Young agreed they could build their own hall. However, he reminded the men, the Temple was not yet complete and would be a much better focus for their energy and resources. A vote to follow that advice was unanimous.
Third Floor
The cultural hall was rarely empty, as activities were constantly occurring in this growing city. But when it became clear the Saints would have to leave, parts of the building were converted into carpentry shops for manufacturing wagons.
Third Floor
Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. began restoring the building in 1977 after an extensive investigation of the interior and archaeological excavations around the hall. Rebuilding the top floor to look as it did in the 1840s was a vital part of that process.
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