Family Search High Tech Discovery Center

While at Rootstech I participated in a VIP tour of the new Family Search High Tech Discovery Center. It was a highly personalised and totally interactive tour with only one church elder and local media photographer, Jeffrey D. Allred from Deseret News taking photos participating also.

Family Discovery Center VIP TourI even managed to place myself in a few of the shots and appeared in the news report online later that week. The Family Search Center (LDS Church) was being set up for a grand opening so it was pleasant to test out the technology without crowds around.

To the left is me playing with a large screen.  It is like a time machine where an extra large image of a room changes over selected time periods so you can see the different types of places your ancestors resided.

Family Search High Tech Discovery Center Tour Starts with an iPad

Ipad front & back with and station dock

iPad front & back with a station dock

Family Search High Tech Discovery CenterOn arrival you receive an iPad and log into your Family Search Account so that your tree is accessed as required. Then you move around to the different stations with the iPad in hand or clicked into one of the many docking stations.

Much of the material is targeted at children and they also get a special adventure kit to use while visiting the Family Search High Tech Discovery Center. It includes a map, explorer hat, bag, magnifying glass and more.

In this image below I am standing on the spot, iPad in hand, where you select different countries that your ancestors may have come from and then you get to see yourself in period costume, on the large screen in front of you. I didn’t look that good as a late 19th Century English Lady!

Family Discovery Center VIP Tour

Load up Your Family Tree to Family Search Before Visiting

Family Search High Tech Discovery CenterThe concept is much more than just a family tree so it is important to have your Family Search Tree include photos, stories and more to get the most out of the visit. For example, your tree information supports the details showing on the large screen above.  Lines show the migration of ancestors from Europe and across the USA. The pictures of your ancestors come from your tree too. Not my ancestors in this case.

The new Family Search High Tech Discovery Center I visited was in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City. Other centers, such as Seattle, are being planned to use the latest technology to bring family history out of the filing cabinets.

Family Search High Tech Discovery Center

Discovery-centre-5 There is a large tree that is part physical and part digital – see image above. When you dock the iPad you too become part of the tree. See my image to the left.

In addition to the technical areas the wall are covered with family history memorabilia.

Family Search High Tech Discovery Center

Afterwards I was emailed about the visit including facts discovered such as how many people share my name and where do I come from?

Although much of the high tech discovery center is built and ideally suited for children and teens who love technology there is the “recording studios” with interview questions already set up so you don’t have to think what to talk about. Recording by yourself or with your grand parents, siblings or children easily allows you to create an audio visual presentation for your family tree.

 Address: Family Search Discovery Center, Joseph Smith Memorial Building; 15 South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150
To see the full article I appear in: FamilySearch Opens High Tech Discovery Center in Salt Lake City contributed By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer on 12 February 2015. Photography by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.
Images marked are mine.

Does family history have to adapt from the filing cabinet to utilising technology to attract young people?