Roots of Knowledge Stained Glass – Orem, Utah - Atlas Obscura

Roots of Knowledge Stained Glass

Orem, Utah

An absolutely beautiful 200-foot stained glass installation traces the evolution of knowledge.  


Anyone driving past Utah Valley University would do well to stop and visit the university’s Fulton Library for a look at the 200-foot-long stained glass installation depicting the history of knowledge in beautiful detail.

The Roots of Knowledge installation tells the story of the origin and growth of human knowledge across 80 delicately designed and painted panels. The colorful creation, completed using 60,000 pieces of glass, begins with an image of Methuselah the bristlecone pine, one of the world’s oldest living organisms, and goes on to depict world events in vivid detail.

One of the most intricate panes shows Alexander the Great and his horse Bucephalus, Chinese terra cotta soldiers, and the Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde, Colorado. It alone contains more than 2,500 pieces of glass. There are other influential leaders and thinkers throughout the work: Nelson Mandela, Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, Kublai Khan, Dante Alighieri, and hundreds of others jostle for space on this painstakingly researched glass canvas.

The project is the brainchild of Utah artist Tom Holdman and Utah Valley University President Matthew Holland and took 12 long years to complete. More than 350 students of the university pitched in as artists and designers, and all their efforts came to fruition when the installation was inaugurated in November 2016.

Know Before You Go

Paid parking is required on the UVU campus. Look for Easter eggs in the stained glass! Find the toilet, the Tardis, Superman, the real 1776 coin, the real fossils and more! The docents/tour guides are knowledgeable and can answer all of your questions.

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