On April 12, the Library will host its third annual Easter celebration, an inspiring event for the whole family. Story time will captivate children with the good news of the resurrection of Jesus, and they can take home a memento of their visit — a keepsake craft or photo with a real lamb.
Two weeks later, on April 26, the Library will host its seventh annual Ladies Tea and Tour with guest speaker Aileen Coleman. Coleman has served as a medical missionary in Jordan for decades and has been presented with multiple honors from leaders like Queen Elizabeth II and King Abdullah II of Jordan. She will share her powerful testimony with guests during this special time of encouragement and fellowship. Women attending the tea will also have the opportunity to enjoy a guided tour of the Library.
The 40,000 square foot Library chronicles the life and ministry of Charlotte’s native son and world traveling pastor Billy Graham. The Library is a multimedia experience that continues Graham’s nearly 80-year mission of delivering the profound message of God’s love, and it is built to resemble a large barn, symbolic of Graham’s childhood on a dairy farm. The structure houses six exhibits, four galleries of memorabilia from around the world, and two theaters, all of which cover his lifetime ministry and the innovative outreach of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association today.
The heart of the Library experience is The Journey of Faith tour, which features engaging films and in-depth exhibits covering Graham’s remarkable life. Visitors can explore the 1949 Los Angeles Crusade that launched Graham onto the national scene; his marriage with late wife, Ruth Bell Graham; his pioneering use of radio, television, and motion pictures to share God’s hope; his relationships with numerous American presidents; and his bold preaching behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.
Billy Graham’s boyhood home has been restored on-site, and guests are encouraged to visit the two-story brick colonial where he lived from age nine until he left for college. Built by Billy’s father, Frank Graham, the house was moved brick by brick to the Library in 2007. The interior features original décor, authentic appliances and furniture, and personal memorabilia from the Graham family.
Visitors also have the opportunity to take a scenic walk through the memorial prayer garden, where Ruth Bell Graham, Gospel music legend George Beverly Shea, and Billie Barrows, late wife of Cliff Barrows, are buried. Guests can enjoy lunch or a snack at the Graham Brothers Dairy Bar, which serves delicious selections like Mother Graham’s chicken salad, the Billy Frank hot dog, fresh salads, soups, ice cream cones, and homemade pound cake. Ruth’s Attic bookstore offers a variety of Bibles, books authored by Graham family members, biographies, classic sermons on DVD, music, apparel, and unique gifts. Active-duty service members with their military ID or in uniform receive a 10 percent discount on all purchases in both the bookstore and the dairy bar.
The Library hosts multiple other special events throughout the year. Book signings have featured former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush; longtime New York Yankees second baseman and 1960 World Series MVP, Bobby Richardson; former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin; and Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, along with their 19 children. The Library also welcomed the Gaither Homecoming, which showcased more than 140 of Gospel music’s leading artists. Annual events include the men’s breakfast in September and Bikers With Boxes in October, when hundreds of bikers bring Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to the Library.
More than 800,000 people from around the world have visited the Library since its opening in June 2007. After touring the galleries and exhibits, one visitor stated, “I wasn’t expecting how grand an experience this could be.” Another said, “I wanted to go over to the Billy Graham Library to meditate and pray in the garden area. I have been four times, and it’s a little bit of heaven on earth for me.” Still others have called the Library “outstanding,” “faith-building,” “inspiring,” and “moving.”