“Precious Moments” was started in the early 1970’s by artist Sam Butcher who would draw doe-eyed children usually as angels or from scenes from the Bible for his friends and family. Encouraged by the positive feedback he was receiving, Butcher began showing his drawings at the annual Christian bookseller’s convention. Butcher’s artwork would not only sell out, but he would get orders from people wanting more. In 1978 he opened a line of figurines based on his drawings that have since sold in the millions.
Butchers work has a tremendously devoted fan base, and the figurines are immensely popular with collectors. There are even precious memories collectors clubs all over the world. The Precious Memories Organization has a Visitors Center and Chapel in the artist hometown of Carthage, Missouri. They receive over 400,000 visitors annually.
Carthage, Missouri and Southern Missouri are located in an area commonly referred to as “The Bible Belt.” You find many people here who take their Christian faith very seriously. The childlike figures are very comforting to many of their devotees. The innocence and childlike faith portrayed in Butcher’s work speak to the hearts of the collectors. I also think some parents who have lost a child are comforted by the child angels.
The Figurines can be seen throughout the park and chapel area.
Stained Glass artwork in the chapel area
Admittedly, this is an acquired taste, but for those who are fans of Butcher’s artwork, the chapel and park is a must-see. This is pure Americana and is free to visit, Donations are always welcomed although as the “Precious Memories” Organization is non-profit. If you are in southern Missouri, please come to visit. With a little childlike faith and imagination, the place could really grow on you.