World Nativities


12:00 - 4:30 PM Daily (closed December 15-16 and 24-25)

Included with guided tour admission; donations welcome for self-guided viewing.

PLEASE NOTE: The exhibition will close at 3:00 pm on Saturday, January 10, for a private event.

Glencairn Museum’s World Nativities exhibition 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.

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.

Kathleen Glenn Pitcairn, an artisan who lives in Bryn Athyn, has provided artistic settings for nearly all of the Nativities.

Image: R. Michael Palan and Karen Loccisano, a husband-and-wife team of professional artists from New York, will exhibit their latest work in progress at Glencairn this year: a Nativity inspired by the paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569) and his son (also named Pieter).