DAYTON, Ohio — The University of Dayton will showcase the Latin flavor of the Nativity as part of the annual exhibit “At the Manger: World Nativity Traditions.”
Free and open to the public, the display begins Saturday, Nov. 26, with a family-friendly grand opening celebration from 1 to 5 p.m. in Roesch Library featuring children’s activities, family photo opportunities, light refreshments, entertainment by the International Festival Singers and a college football viewing area.
Nativities from Mexico, also known as Nacimientos, on display in the first-floor gallery will show the influence of indigenous peoples; traditional materials, such as straw or clay; the miniature Nativity tradition; and the contrast between contemporary and traditional pieces, Roten said. Some scenes also include Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“We want to highlight in a special way a country that is close to us, not just for reasons of geography but because they have a very rich Nativity culture,” said the Rev. Johann Roten, S.M., Marian Library director of research and special projects.
Drawing from the University's collection of more than 3,000 Nativities, this year’s exhibit also will highlight the romantic Nativity culture of the Ore Mountains in eastern Germany, which displays figures on spinning cases called pyramids, lit by candles.
Additionally, for the first time, a 12-foot metal mobile of the Nativity made by local artists Michele Devitt and Matt Burgy will hang in the library atrium. And for the last time, the exhibit will include the Provençal Village and the model train on the seventh floor. The village is made of 151 Santons, or figures, gathered around the manger. The model train travels through an 18-by-12 foot display with 10 stations that depict the events surrounding Jesus’ birth and childhood.
At the Manger will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Jan. 8 inside Roesch Library. It will be closed for holidays on Dec. 8, 23-26 and 30-31; and Jan. 1-2. The annual free exhibit is the University's gift to the community.
For more information on exhibits, hours, directions and parking, visit go.udayton.edu/manger or call937-229-4265.
Guided group tours for six or more are available on request by calling 937-229-4214. World Nativity lesson plans prepared by education majors from the University's School of Education and Health Sciences are available for download on the exhibit’s website. The lessons are free and suitable for pre-K through 8th grades.
Nativities from Latin America will also be on display Nov. 23 through Jan 1 at the Gallery St. John, 4400 Shakertown Road in Beavercreek. The exhibit is open noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and by appointment. A special Advent Posada will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at Mount St. John. More information is available online at dayton-gallery-saintjohn.org.
The Nativity collection is a part of the University of Dayton's Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute (IMRI), which holds the world's largest repository of books, artwork and artifacts devoted to Mary, the mother of Christ. A pontifical center of research and scholarship with a vast presence in cyberspace, its All About Mary website, at udayton.edu/imri/mary, makes knowledge on Virgin Mary available worldwide.
Due to renovation plans for the libraries, the At the Manger grand opening event will not be held in 2017 and 2018, and exhibits will only be shown in the Marian Library on the seventh floor of Roesch.