Permanent Exhibits - US
ABOUT THIS GUIDE
Please let us know if you visit any of the places outlined herein and tell us about your experience. In many instances we have depended on internet web-sites for information, so a personal visit could result in a change of ranking or additional information about the site.
For your own information, many of the Museums listed in the Guide charge an admission fee, so, be prepared.
**** Must See. Nativity Museum – Large collection within a museum, church or other public place – Single Nativity definitely worth a visit
*** Should See. Sizeable collection within a museum, church, or other public place.
** Worth A Visit if in Area. Some Nativities interspersed among other displays in a museum, church, or other public place.
* Interesting. Nativity item that may prove interesting to visit if already in the area.
To Explore. Exact status to be determined. Let us know if you visit.
Be sure to check before visiting any of these displays. Hours, viewing times, exhibits, and even locations, often change.
A note: if you travel during the Advent/Christmas holiday period, remember that there are special seasonal displays of Nativities in many places in the United States and around the world. Wherever you may be, be sure to check for local Nativity events.
To contact us: - or
Judith Davis, 6520 Lagunitas Avenue, El Cerrito CA 94530
Tucson **Tucson Museum of Art. 140 N. Main Ave. In La Casa Cordova, a 19th Century home. A Nacimiento of 600 miniature pieces is on display every year from late November to mid-March. Casa Cordova open: Tu-Sat 10-4, Sun 12-4. Closed Mon., major holidays. (phone: 520-624-2333; fax: 520-624-7202; website: www.tucsonmuseumofart.org)
Carmel * Mission San Carlos Borromeo, founded 1770. Nativity on display made up of pieces from several different Italian Baroque sets. Located in a room to the left of the altar. Open: M-Sa 9:30-5, Su 10:30-5; Dec by appointment only (831-624-1271 - www.carmelmission.org)
San Diego ***St. Vincent de Paul Village. 3350 E. Street. More than 600 Nativities from the collection of Fr. Joe Carroll on display. Open: Dec. by appointment. (phone: 619-446-2100)
San Francisco *Grace Cathedral, Episcopal. 1100 California St., at Taylor St. on Nob Hill. Nativity figures carved by Antonio Sanjuan Villalba of Valencia, Spain, in 1956. Swedish birch wood, lightly polychromed. Located in north transept. Open: Weekdays 7am-6pm; Sat 8-4:30, Sun, 7-7; Holidays 8-4. (415-749-6300) www.gracecathedral.org)
Bethlehem ***Abbey of Regina Laudis, a community of contemplative Benedictine women. 249 Flanders Road. Visitors welcome to visit 18th Century Neapolitan crèche, with 68 hand-carved figures, a gift from Mrs. Loretta Hines Howard, 1949. It is thought to have belonged to Victor Amadeus II, King of Sardinia, a gift for his coronation in 1720. Crèche open daily, weather permitting, from 10-4. Closed Jan 6 until Easter (www.abbeyofreginalaudis.org)
The Lauren Ford Crèche, located in a small farm shed near the Lower Abbey Chapel, is a charming rustic Nativity scene in which heroic-sized figures of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are dressed in New England clothes, surrounded by hay in a manger. Created by Loren Ford, revered Connecticut artist, who offered hospitality to Lady Abbess and Mother Marie Aline at Sheepfold when they arrived From France in 1947 to create a Monastic Foundation.
Chicago *The Polish Museum of America. 984 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago. Among displays of Polish history and culture is one large szopka made here in the U.S. for the visit of Pope JohnPaul II in 1978. Open Mon-Wed and Fri-Sun 11-4. Closed Thurs & major holidays. (phone: 773-384-3352;
**St. John Cantius Church. 825 N. Carpenter St. Mid-18th Century Neapolitan presepio (Nativity and village scenes) in an 8’ x 5 ½’ setting. Also, a 1/3 scale replica of Wit Stwosz altarpiece from the Bazylika Mariacka, Krakow, Poland, with Nativity scene on wings of the altar doors. In general, the Church is a repository of sacred art and relics. Office open: Mon-Fri 9-4. (phone: 312-243-7373 – website: www.cantius.org)
North Manchester *Manchester University, 604 E. College Ave. Funderburg Library, 2nd floor. Display of some 100 Nativities from around the world from the collection of alumni, Joyce and Max Douglas. During Christmas holiday additional sets on display throughout the College community. For Library hours: www.manchester.edu
Lafayette ****Museum, Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 914 St. John’s Street, downtown. Italian Baroque presepio from the collection of Jeffery Guéno and the late Frank Hanley. 120 figures and a multitude of accessories in a proper Neapolitan scene in a fiber-optic lighted case 7’ high, 5 ½’ deep, 11 ½’wide, plus two additional scenes in cases 4’ high, 4’ wide, 12’ deep. Open: M-F 9-12, 1-4.
(phone: 337-232-1322) Special appointments: 337-643-6420.
Mashpee - Christ the King Parish, Mashpee Commons, corner of Route 151 and Jobs Fishing Road, on Cape Cod. Display of large-size Fontanini Nativity figures in the Chapel. Open: M-F 9-3, Sat-Sun 9-4. (phone: 508-477-7700 fax: 508-477-8158)
Frankenmuth ****Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland, 25 Christmas Lane. Nativities on display both inside and out. Museum inside main building holds Bronner Family personal Nativity collection. "Silent Night" Chapel replica on grounds. Open: Jan-May, M-Th & Sa 9-5:30, F 9-9, Su 12-5:30. Jun-Dec, M-Sa 9-9, Su 12-7. Closed Jan 1, Easter, U.S. Thanksgiving, Christmas. Check 989-652-9931
or www.bronners.com to be sure.
Minneapolis ****Westminster Presbyterian Church. 1200 Marquette Avenue. The Martha Spencer Rogers Crèche Collection. More than 200 Nativities from over 80 different countries. Open Mon-Fri 9-5, Sun 9-12 (phone: 612-332-3421 –www.ewestminster.org/Westminster_gallery)
St. Anthony Village **Nativity Lutheran Church, 3312 Silver Lake Road. (suburb 5 mi. NE Minneapolis) Collection of Nativities from around the world. Open during regular office hours and at church services. (phone: 612-781-2766 or www.nativitychurch.org)
Enfield ****Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, 410 NH Route 4A. Monsignor Charles DesRuisseaux Collection. Over 450 Nativities from more than 50 countries. June through September, open daily 10:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. December 1-31, open daily 5:00-9:00 p.m. For other times, consult www.lasaletteofenfield.org Phone: 603 632-7087 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Fr. René J. Butler, M.S., Shrine Director
Mt. Laurel *Cistercian Monastery, 564 Walton Avenue. Italian presepio, 20 ft. wide x 25 ft. deep. Six-minute taped narration of the Christmas story. Open daily 8-8 year round. (phone: 856-235-1330)
Santa Fe **Museum of International Folk Art. 706 Camino Lejo, off Old Santa Fe Trail. Nativities can be seen in the exhibition, Multiple Visions: A Common Bond, in the Girard Wing. Open 10-5 daily. Closed Mondays except during summer months. (505-476-1200)
New York City *Church of St. Francis of Assisi, 135 W. 31st Street (between 6th 7th Avenues). Perpetual Christmas Crib in lower church. Relic from cave of the Nativity in Bethlehem set into rail in front of crib. Church open Mon-Fri 7-6, Sat-Sun 8-6. (212-736-8500)
Akron ****Nativity of the Lord Jesus Catholic Church. 2425 Myersville Rd., Corner of Killian & Myersville Roads. Replicas of the Bethlehem Cave, Altars, Manger of the Infant Jesus + Museum adjacent to the Chapel with 500+ (more new sets added in 2020) Nativities from around the world shown permanently, with self guided tours available with other appropriate safety concerns during the pandemic). Open weekdays 9-4; Sat, Sun before and after Masses. (phone: 330-699-5086 - More information is available on our website: :www.nativityofthelord.org)
Cincinnati - Comboni Mission Center. 1318 Nagel Road. Miniature Nativity scene, animated, with narrative and music, showing the entire city of Jerusalem. Open: second Sun in Dec until end of month, 6-9 pm daily, excluding 24th& 25th; also Mon-Fri 8-4, by appointment, for individuals and groups. (phone: 513-474-4997 - www.combonimissionaries.org)
Dayton ****The Marian Library, University of Dayton. Collection of 3,600 sets from around the world. Multiple seasonal displays; small year-round crèche museum. Do not miss the large Kevin Hanna “Mirror of Hope” representing major events of the Old and New Testaments, located in the Marian Museum (Illustrated book available) Opening hours for art gallery and crèche museum, Mon-Fri 8:30-4:30 or by appt. Also open by appt. is the Crèche Workshop, where additional sets are on display. (937-229-4214 or 937-229-4213 - www.udayton.edu/mary/ or www.themarypage.net)
Eufaula* Eufaula First United Methodist Church. 220 S. Main St. Collection of Eloise and Bill Smith. Some 30 Nativities, from collection of 500+, are rotated every other month. Open: Mon-Fri 9-2, Sun 9-1. Phone 918-689-2109
*123 Foley Avenue (next to Post Office). 20 Nativity sets from Eloise and Bill Smith collection always on view in windows. Office open Mon-Fri 8-4, Sat 8-1. (email@example.com)
Chalfont ***Byers’ Choice Ltd., (makers of the Christmas caroler figures) 30 miles no. of Philadelphia, at 4355 County Line Road. One room of Visitors’ Center houses collection of almost 200 crèches from around the world, including an 18th Century Italian presepio. Open year round Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-5. Closed major holidays. (215-822-6700 - www.byerschoice.com)
Grove City ****Slovak Folk Crafts. 1605 S. Center St. (Pennsylvania Exit 113 on Hwy I-79) A hand-carved basswood Nativity is at the center of a 17’ x 6’ x 8’ wooden display with 82 moving figures depicting folk life as it existed in Slovakia for centuries. Carved by Vladimir Tomko and Miloš Karabin under the design and supervision of Master Carver Jozef Pekara. Modeled after a larger mechanical Nativity in Rajecká Lesná, Slovakia, built by Master Pekara. This is the largest known mechanical Nativity in North America. Open Mon-Sat 9-5. (phone: 866-756-8257 - www.SlovakFolkCrafts.com)
Paradise, Lancaster County ****National Christmas Center, 3427 Lincoln Highway. Over 300 Nativity sets on display, including the contemporary collection of Jay Bullock. There is a large selection of 20th century Nativities, a narrated Pennsylvania Moravian Putz, a magnificent life-size hand carved 20-piece Italian Nativity (late 1800’s), and an incredible walk-through Journey from the House in Nazareth, through the wilderness, into a cave in Bethlehem. (17 life-size wax figures). Open: May-Dec daily 10-6.Group tours year round by appt. (717-442-7950 – www.nationalchristmascenter.com)
Philadelphia*St. Mary’s at the Cathedral, Chapel of St. Michael and All Angels, 630 E. Cathedral Road, at Ridge Avenue. Chinese crèche brought from China in 1943 by missionary, Deacon Katherine Putnam, who served there for 33 years. Located in side chapel year round; moved into church during Christmas season. (215-482-6300)
Nashville **The Upper Room Chapel and Christian Art Museum, 1908 Grand Ave. “Night of the Child” Nativity and “Madonna and Child Gallery,” with 100+ international Nativity scenes, on display Nov-Jan; 30-40 scenes on display remainder of year. Open Mon-Fri, 8-4:30; closed Sat, Sun, holidays.
Del Rio Whitehead Memorial Museum, 1308 S. Main Street. Cadena Nativity. Display is 32’long, 10’ high, 20’ deep and has 1287 items collected from California and Mexico over many years by Beatriz Rodriguez Cadena. Open year round Tu-Sat, 9-4:30; Sun, 1-5; closed Monday. (phone: 830-774-7568 website: www.whiteheadmuseum.org)
Sanger ****“Bethlehem in Denton County”. 990 Milam Road East (5 mi. north of Denton on I-35N, Exit 473) Collection of Judy Klein. Over 3000 Nativities. Viewings by appointment, evenings and week-ends only. Groups of 10 persons maximum. (phone: 940-231-4520 -firstname.lastname@example.org - www.bethlehemindentonco.com)
**Mount St. Sepulchre, a Franciscan Monastery. Replica of the Holy Manger. 1400Quincy Street NE. Tours offered daily on the hour. Mon-Sat 10, 11, 1, 2, 3. Sun 1, 2, 3.(phone: 202-526-6800 - website: www.myfranciscan.com)
Green Lake - Green Lake Conference Center, in the Roger Williams Inn. W2511 State Road 23 – west of Fond du Lac. Some 250 Nativities from the collection of Merrill and Elaine Luman on display. Viewing hours vary, especially during the winter months when the display may be closed, so be sure to check before visiting. (920-294-3323)
Menomonee Falls ****Holy Cross Lutheran Church, W156-N8131 Pilgrim Road. “The Joy to the World Nativity Collection”. Over 250 Nativities from more than 40 countries, collected by Bill and Susanne Gay. Open Mon-Fri 1-3, Sun 9-1. (phone: 262-251-2740)
Oshkosh ****Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church, 1174 Algoma Blvd., corner of New York. On lower level, collection of more than 1000 Nativities from around the world displayed artistically. Open year round during regular church hours; Sundays 8-12; M-Th 8:30-2:30, F 8:30-1:30. To be sure church is open, call 920-231-2800. Tours by appointment. (www.abumc.org - email@example.com)