• Neil Allen

Pandemic Era Displays

Following up on a previous conversation about how Covid-19 has affected displays open to the public, our board members responded.

ith 2020 Pandemics ragging out of control, how has any of this affected your presentation of nativities?

Marguerite Sullivan:

Yes impacted.

My husband, Roger Sullivan, and I showed at least 160 of our nativities from about 100. countries at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, located in Washington, D.C. The Monastery has been closed since March and will remain closed to probably the late winter or spring. So no show there.

We usually put up about another hundred in our home but are only putting up about 25 this year. Washington, D.C. where we live, has pretty strict pandemic guidelines -- only people in your "pod" (so to speak) should have extended indoor contact, which for us is family -- two daughters and their families living nearby.....so we are sadly are not displaying as we normally would. However, we have contributed pictures to a few online displays.

Sydne Jongbloed:

At Mary & Joseph we are mounting about 40 nativities that can be viewed through the windows outside of our main building. I'm calling it a "stroll by". We are still working out the "kinks", hope to have video available for virtual viewing...will keep you posted.

Michele Devitt:

I set up an exhibit “ Christmas star “ of 22 nativities that had stars, or I made stars to go with the crèche. This is at a parish that has a retreat center and housing for retired priests. I made a brochure so people could walk through and read a description of each piece. The sets are on five tables in three different rooms 6 feet apart!

I did another exhibit of 23 nativities at my parish in the locked glass cases. These are labeled by country.

Today I set up my white Lenox sit on our buffet in the hopes our children will be here to enjoy it. I have approximately 200 nativities that stay up year-round in the “lower level gallery” and 50 on our main floor. I am switching some of them out today just to change things up. We will not have any people to our home this year except immediate family .....we are hoping!

I sent photos to the world virtual nativity and have been promoting that to friends and family. This is virtually the year to virtually share virtually!

Neil Allen

My shows (normally 5 or more - lasting anywhere from a few hours to 14 days) - are all canceled. Some of those showings were designed to get folks to attend the 2021 Portland Convention. So, I’ve been doing custom showings for families, churches, friends on-line. It’s so very different from hands-on experiences I’ve done for the past 30 years. People ask fewer questions, they have a hard time seeing intricate pieces, and have to focus on one set at a time, so I’ve been perfecting the presentation and cutting it down to more essentials. It’s equally engaging, but I miss the wow factor when people walk into the display area.

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