It’s hard to find a person of faith in the United States whose life hasn’t been impacted by Billy Graham.
The famous evangelist, who led large-scale ministry crusades around the globe for more than 60 years and served as an advisor to 12 U.S. presidents, died in February at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, at the age of 99. His legacy as one of America’s pre-eminent spiritual leaders, however, will endure, both in the lives of the millions he touched and at the Billy Graham Library near Charlotte.
Founded in 1997 by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the museum is designed to give visitors a look at Graham’s life and ministry — and to reinforce the core of his gospel message — using both interactive, multimedia exhibits and artifacts from his personal life. More than 1 million people have passed through the cross-shaped doors of the library since it opened, representing more than 90 countries.
Groups that visit the library discover Graham’s story on the self-guided Journey of Faith, a series of exhibits covering more than 70 years of Graham’s life, from preaching to his cows as a young man on a North Carolina dairy farm to reaching millions across the world.
Each piece of memorabilia serves as a launching pad for great a story. A pair of handguns on display tells the story of New York gang members who turned their guns in and gave their lives to Christ at a crusade. Graham’s decision card shows his early devotion to the Lord.
Visitors especially like hearing about Graham’s relationship with his late wife, Ruth. Items on display include her hand-stitched wedding dress and veil, personal Bible and an especially sweet note from Graham.
Graham was buried alongside Ruth in a gravesite at the library. In light of Graham’s passing, the museum staff is working on a new exhibition detailing his funeral procession and burial. Organizers expect the new exhibit to be open by the first of April.