Monday, October 5, 2020

Inspiration of Precious Moments park

If you’re looking for an uplifting place to visit, especially in uncertain times, there’s no better destination than the PreciousMoments complex near Carthage, Missouri.

Entrance to the Precious Moments park
A tribute to the artistry of Samuel J. Butcher who created Precious Moments figures, this park is anchored by the Precious Moments Chapel.  You’ll see 10,000 square feet adorned by 84 amazing hand-painted murals, 30 Bible verses and stories replicated in stained glass, and beautiful gardens decorated with meaningful sculptures. It’s a place for quiet reflection as you admire beloved Bible stories told through Precious Moments art.

Angels are recurring figures throughout the park.
While the Chapel has attracted millions of visitors, there’s much more to see.  Upon arrival, you enter a large building decorated with vignettes in Precious Moments style.  Informative films show the creative process, from casting the figures in clay to adding details and additional items nestled beside figures to close-ups of artists’ hands painting the distinctive muted hues. 

Statues of praying angels surround the perimeter, while stained glass windows with angel designs add to the cottage look. The world’s largest Precious Moments gift shop is filled with all kinds of figurines—for babies, marriage, graduation, family, friendship, patriotism--all of life’s special events and feelings. The Royal Delights Snack Shop will keep you nourished during your visit.

Beautiful gardens and water features honor beloved guests.
Head outdoors and you’ll see a statue of praying angels holding a tiny child. Called “Remember the Children,” it’s a memorial to children lost during the Oklahoma City bombing disaster.  The grounds are beautifully landscaped with colorful blooming flowers, trees and rock features. Grandma and Grandpa Cooper’s Garden, a water feature named in honor of an elderly couple who came every Thursday for many years, is a gesture of thanks for the love they demonstrated for everyone.

Mr. Butcher loved the woods, creek, and cave on the property he purchased in 1984. We understood why while wandering along well-kept paths.  Larry and I were impressed with the overall creativity including statues and fountains.  The solemn Avenue of Angles is filled with plants and figures dedicated by families to their lost loved ones.

Avenue of Angels is a way for families to remember loved ones.
In the museum, we saw original “Debbie” figurines including the first one called “Love One Another.” Each year new Precious Moments figurines are produced, some limited in production. Once those figurines are sold, the mold is retired and withdrawn from production.

Butcher himself painted every piece of art in the awe-inspiring Chapel. Three large, intricately-carved doors are inscribed with the scripture, “To God be the glory, great things He hath done.”  The heavenly ceiling, painted in 1985, originally included all but one of his angel figures, which was later added to indicate the ceiling was finished forever.
The Chapel is a work of art and a venue for story telling.
Several layers of art adorn side walls of the Chapel and stained glass windows, telling stories of disciples (painted in 2003) and parables through his trademark figures.  Circular paintings tell Old Testament stories, while children of the world are depicted in the ovals. 

Butcher’s sense of humor shows through as he painted Matthew, the tax collector, holding an IRS sign and the Good Samaritan with a Red Cross first aid kit. 

The park is open, but operating hours vary according to the season. Check online or call 800-543-7975.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

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