On Monday, what would have been the late evangelist Billy Graham’s 104th birthday, a new Billy Graham Archive and Research Center opened in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The 30,000-square-foot state-of-the-art research center opened nearly 800 miles south of Wheaton College, in Graham’s birthplace of Charlotte, North Carolina. The new archive includes 

videos, cassette tapes, films, newspaper clippings, correspondences, sermon notes and memorabilia from Graham’s lifetime of ministry.

A year after Graham passed away in 2018, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, now led by his son Franklin Graham, announced that the archive would be relocated from Wheaton, the late evangelist’s alma mater.

“Franklin Graham committed resources to make sure it’s a robust and well-organized authentic archive center,” David Bruce, executive director of the archive, told Religion News Service.

Bruce, who served as Billy Graham’s executive assistant for 25 years, will be working alongside 13 others hired to staff the archive, which includes eight full-time employees. The two-story building reportedly took $13 million to build and is located across from the Billy Graham Library. While the library is open to the public, only researchers are permitted in the archive with an appointment.

“While we’re open to everybody, our key market is people wanting to learn what God has done and can do in the future that might encourage a young man or woman to take up the same task: a proclamation of evangelism,” Bruce said.

According to professor of American Christianity at Princeton Theological Seminary Heath Carter, Graham’s influence was far-reaching.

“There’s wider interest in evangelicalism and an acknowledgment that the trajectory of white evangelicalism in the mid-to-late-20th century had really significant implications for American politics,” Carter explained. “He was a key figure in a movement that would become a strong base of support for the likes of Donald Trump.”

The archive opened to researchers on Tuesday, a day after it opened to reporters.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Keystone/Stringer

Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.