World Nativities 2015


Daily 12:00 to 4:30 PM
Closed December 14-15, 24-25

Suggested donation $5/person (includes both exhibitions)

Presents dozens of three-dimensional Nativity scenes, collected from around the world. For many Christians the Nativity scene is a meaningful expression of religious faith, providing a compelling visual focus during the Christmas season. World Nativities reveals how artisans have adapted the Nativity scene to represent their own national, regional, and local cultures. Nativities are often crafted from whatever materials are locally available, such as clay, grass, cornhusks, bark, gourds, and even coconuts. Settings for the Nativities have been created by Bryn Athyn artisan Kathleen Glenn Pitcairn.

Glencairn’s own Nativity tradition dates to the 1920s, when Raymond and Mildred Pitcairn commissioned a large three-part Nativity for their home by craftsmen from the Bryn Athyn Studios. The Pitcairn Nativity has been displayed annually in Glencairn’s Upper Hall since the building was completed in 1939. In the 1950s the Pitcairns commissioned a similar Nativity for the Eisenhower family, which was placed beside the Christmas tree in the East Room of the White House. This year the scenes have been given new life with professionally designed, dramatic interior lighting, making the Pitcairn Nativity more inspiring than ever.

For this exhibition, Glencairn is proud to debut a unique creation by Navidad Nativities, of Bucks County, PA. This special Nativity setting, with stunning interior lighting, was inspired by the art and architecture of Bryn Athyn Cathedral and Glencairn. The figures in this Nativity were hand carved in wood and dressed in starched fabric by Original Heide, a family business in the Italian Alps.

Top right: This Nativity scene was created especially for this year's World Nativities exhibition at Glencairn by Navidad Nativities, of Bucks County, PA. It honors the architectural legacy of Raymond Pitcairn, who supervised the design and construction of both Bryn Athyn Cathedral and Glencairn, and his particular love for the Christmas and the Nativity story.
Bottom left: Each year Glencairn’s World Nativities exhibition, in addition to drawing from its own growing collection of Nativities from around the world, borrows crèches from the collections of other organizations. In 2013 this Nativity, made in a French monastery by members of the Sisters of Bethlehem, was loaned by Mepkin Abbey, South Carolina. This year Glencairn’s exhibition features several Nativities from the National Christmas Center and Museum. © Glencairn Museum