"Sunstone" Face Displayed at NMAH

ID: 90-4138-9

Creator: Vargas, Rick

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: 1990

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 98-015, Box 2, Folder: July 1990

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact photos@si.edu.
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Community Life Curator Richard Ahlborn poses in the National Museum of American History's (NMAH) Mall-side lobby with newly resplendent 2.5-ton "Sunstone." The striking sculpture face atop the pilaster was carefully restored by conservators in NMAH's Division of Conservation and at the Conservation Analytical Laboratory. The sculpture was for many years on display on the grounds of the Governor Wood Mansion, Quincy, Illinois. "Sunstone" was originally one of 30 identical faces capping sturdy pilasters on a Mormon temple built 1845 in Nauvoo, Illinois, and only three years later burned. There were also a "Moonstone" at the foot of each pilaster and a "Starstone" above each pilaster. These celestial designs are said to have come in a dream to Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


  • Ahlborn, Richard E
  • Smith, Joseph 1805-1844
  • National Museum of American History (U.S.) (NMAH)


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


Featured in the "Torch," July 1990

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 98-015, Box 2, Folder: July 1990

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu



Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Mormon Temple (Nauvoo, Ill.)
  • Sculpture
  • Sunstone (Sculpture)
  • Celestial Designs
  • Exhibitions
  • Museums
  • Governor Wood Mansion (Quincy, Ill.)
  • Museum curators


  • Photographic print
  • Object
  • Person, candid

ID Number


Physical description

Color: Black and White; Size: 10w x 8h; Type of Image: Object; Person, candid; Medium: Photographic print

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