Billy Graham Library
The Billy Graham Library is a public library and museum documenting the ministry of Christian Evangelist Billy Graham. Graham has been called by some “America’s Pastor”, and has served as religious and spiritual advisors to several significant figures in American history, including past presidents and Martin Luther King Jr. The museum documents Graham's life and religious teachings, including his childhood and marriage. The museum is open to the public and offers exhibits, presentations, and a cafe.
Backstory and Context
In 2007 the Billy Graham Library opened to the public just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. The property holding the library belongs to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association National Headquarters, to signify the birth place and childhood of Graham. The styling of the facility is specific; the building is shaped like a dairy barn, complete with a mechanical talking cow, to emulate Graham’s childhood, growing up on a farm. However, the association added a 40 foot glass cross at the entrance, constructing the building’s main doors directly below, so that all entrants must pass under the cross.
The museum showcases exhibits, presentations, artifacts and displays documenting Graham’s ministry. Graham’s late wife, Ruth Bell Graham, is buried on site in the Prayer Garden. There is also a bookstore named Ruth’s Attic on site, and an entire gallery devoted to her history.
Additionally, the Library offers a chance to enter and view a restored version of Graham’s childhood home and a replica Graham Brothers Dairy Barn, which serves as a functioning cafe for visitors.
According to the Billy Graham library itself, the facility is considered a “crusade”, and an “ongoing ministry” where “people who have the opportunity to be won to Christ”.
Graham’s Christian teachings are thought to have reached over 2 billion people in his lifetime, and he has served as a spiritual advisor to several notable figures, including President Eisenhower and President Johnson. He also had a close relationship with Martin Luther King Jr., having jointly preached together and bailing him out of jail during the Civil Rights Movements of the 1950s.