Fostering the True Meaning of Christmas

The collections of the University of Dayton’s Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute include thousands of nativities from around the world that reflect a variety of customs and traditions. Over 100 countries are represented in the collections through sets often made of materials indigenous to the local regions and artistic customs. Depicting the story of Christ’s birth and presence, these crèches are expressions of how Christianity has shaped the culture and faith of people all over the world.

It is part of the mission of The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute to foster the true meaning of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ through exhibits and programs featuring these inspirational pieces. In addition to our main exhibits, sets are lent for display all around campus, throughout the greater Dayton community and beyond. Nativities are available for loan during the Christmas season.


Loans to University of Dayton offices, supervised UD lobbies, and departments throughout campus are available at no charge. Campus faculty/staff may simply request a loan online to add beautiful nativity sets to campus spaces this Advent and Christmas season.

New this year, we have 3 collections of ornaments to decorate your office tree. There are enough ornaments to decorate a 6' tree. Choose from Angels, Nativities, or the Blessed Mother. 

Questions? Call the Marian Library curatorial assistant at extension 94213 or email creches@udayton.edu.


Fees are required for loans beyond the University of Dayton campus and loans are considered a taxable service for nonexempt institutions. This income, along with the generosity of individual donors, helps cover a small part of the cost of maintaining the collections, providing free public programming, and presenting our annual At the Manger exhibits.

Typical fees are:

  • $75 per case for major institutions and museums
  • $50 per case for local parishes, schools, libraries and small institutions
  • Varying fees charged for sets not in cases

Packing and transportation fees may also apply, depending upon the location of the borrowing institution.

All fees are negotiable. It is our desire to share these collections and celebrate the birth of our Lord broadly with all. If your organization is unable to consider typical fees, please let us know. The Marian Library staff will work with you in the selection of sets and the Director of Research and Special Projects may approve special rates or loans free of charge.

It is the responsibility of the borrower to cover costs of loss or repair. The Marian Library first examines the damage and determines the extent of the repair needed as well as the procedures to be taken.


Creche Loan Program Brochure

Crèche Loan Program Brochure

Download this printable pdf.

Contact Us

Crèches of the Marian Library

300 College Park 
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1390

937-229-4213 

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