The new Billy Graham Archive and Research Center opened in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 7, the birthday of the late evangelist.
The 30,000 square-foot facility features all of Billy Graham’s papers and artifacts, including videos, cassettes, films, and a lifetime of memorabilia from his career, which began with a sermon at a Florida Baptist church in 1937. The state-of-the-art research center is nearly 800 miles south of Wheaton College, his alma mater, reports Yahoo! News.
Adjacent to the newly-opened archive and research center is the Billy Graham Library, Graham’s boyhood home, his gravesite, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters. Scholars can now study the evangelist’s archive materials as well as visit these important landmarks.
I feel that this is so important for future generations; to preserve my father’s records and have it where people can study the work of evangelism. —Franklin Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association president and CEO
“There is a generation that doesn’t know Billy Graham, they don’t know Jesus Christ or anything about God,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association president and CEO Franklin Graham said in the news release.
“We want to inspire and equip future leaders to carry out the Great Commission as they study my father’s written, audio, and video materials from decades of ministry to learn what God did through Billy Graham and how God did it. I feel that this is so important for future generations; to preserve my father’s records and have it where people can study the work of evangelism.”
The new two-story building costs $13 million and boasts of the latest preservation standards and environmental controls to keep the memorabilia in pristine condition. Some of the pieces at the center include many items from Billy Graham’s personal and private records which are available to the public for the first time. These include Graham’s correspondence with 13 U.S. presidents, international heads of state, Hollywood celebrities, sports figures, and other people of influence. The collection also includes objects, artwork and keepsakes from Graham’s world travels and ministry opportunities.
“Franklin Graham committed resources to make sure it’s a robust and well-organized authentic archive center,” said David Bruce, executive director of the archive.
Bruce served as Billy Graham’s executive assistant for 25 years. He denied claims that moving the archives from Wheaton to Charlotte meant Franklin Graham would deny access to the archival materials to scholars and academics who don’t share his father’s views in theology and politics, reports Religion News Service.
“Dusty records don’t serve any purpose,” he pointed out. The opposite is true, though. He maintained that the archive center aims to further Graham’s ministry.
“While we’re open to everybody, our key market is people wanting to learn what God has done and can do in the future that might encourage a young man or woman to take up the same task: a proclamation of evangelism,” he said.
People who would like to visit the Billy Graham Archive and Research Center are required to schedule an appointment at least 14 days in advance.