Tuesday October 18, 2011

No Place like Home

From a stable - to a tent - to a house of bread, the University's annual Nativity scene exhibit shows how many different cultures depict Christ's first home.

As hearts turn to home between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the University of Dayton's annual Nativity scene exhibit will also turn to home.

"At the Manger — No Place like Home" will display Nativity sets that show the many ways different cultures depict the physical structure of Christ's first home.

University Libraries will welcome the season with a free open house to unveil the new exhibit of more than 200 crèches from around the world, drawn from the collection of the University's Marian Library, on display Nov. 26 through Jan. 29, at the Roesch Library.

The family-oriented open house includes three separate exhibits, children's activities, light refreshments, live entertainment, shopping at The Stable Store and even a college football viewing area, 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, on three floors of Roesch Library. It's free and open to the public.

"Our annual open house is a tradition with many families," said Kathleen Webb, dean of University libraries. "They start the Christmas season by exploring how different cultures around the world celebrate family, faith and community through Nativity sets.

"It's a wonderful way to share the Christmas story with children."

The featured exhibit includes more than 40 displays of Nativity scenes, also called crèches, that include stables, adobe houses, palaces, straw sheds, caves, huts, tents — even a house made from bread.

That's fitting because in Hebrew, Bethlehem literally means "house of bread" and evokes thoughts of home and hospitality, according to the Rev. Johann Roten, S.M., Marian Library director of research and special projects.

"The structures around the family remind us that everyone needs a home, as everyone needs a family," Roten said.

He said the theme has special significance for the University of Dayton community, because it evokes characteristics of the Society of Mary, which founded the University and continues to guide its identity and mission.

"The University of Dayton has a culture grounded in the Marianist traditions of hospitality and family spirit. 'No Place like Home' highlights these special traditions," he said.

Roten will give a talk on "Christmas Between Religion and Culture" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, on the first floor of Roesch Library. Exhibits will be open and refreshments will be served. It's free and open to the public. 

Returning this year is The Stable Store, featuring an expanded selection of Nativities and Nativity-related items for purchase, with proceeds benefiting the work and collections of the Marian Library. Collectible crèches, ornaments and handmade pieces from fair-trade artisans will be available at the library or online.

The Stable Store is located on the second floor of Roesch Library. It's open 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 26 through Dec. 18; 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, Nov. 26 through Jan. 27; and closed Dec. 23-26 and Dec. 31 through Jan. 2. Some items are also available online through January at http://www2.udayton.edu/libraries/manger/stable_store.php.

Several community locations also will feature crèche displays from the University of Dayton's Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, which holds the largest collection in the world of printed materials on Mary, the mother of Jesus. The collection includes nearly 3,000 crèches as well as Marian art from around the world.

University of Dayton exhibits

All campus exhibits are closed Dec. 23-26 and Dec. 31 through Jan. 2. Library hours vary during the season; for information on exhibits, hours, directions and parking, visit http://udayton.edu/libraries/manger or call 937-229-4234. Guided group tours are available on request by calling 937-229-4214.

"No Place Like Home." This exhibit presents 40 Nativity sets from around the world that explore the theme of "home." First floor, Roesch Library, Saturday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, Jan. 29. Closed Dec. 23-26 and Dec. 31 through Jan. 2. Hours vary.

"A Southern Charm: Santes, Bultos, and Nichos." The Nativity tradition is especially rich in Central and South American cultures. This exhibit, drawn from the vast collection of the Marian Library, will explore the religious, cultural and artistic aspects of Nativities from Latin cultures. Seventh floor, Marian Library Gallery, Roesch Library, Saturday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, Jan. 29. Open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed Dec. 23-26 and Dec. 31 through Jan. 2. Hours vary.

"The Larish Nativity Collection." In 2005, friends of the University John Larish and his wife, Rose, donated their extensive collection of Nativities to the Marian Library. This exhibit features 100 sets from the Larish collection. Second floor, Roesch Library, Saturday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, Jan. 29. Closed Dec. 23-26 and Dec. 31 through Jan. 2. Hours vary.

"At the Manger Sampler." A selection of crèches from the Marian Library collection, including large-scale scenes, is on display. Seventh floor, Marian Library Gallery, Roesch Library, Saturday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, Jan. 29. Open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed Dec. 23-26 and Dec. 31 through Jan. 2. Hours vary.

Community exhibits

"The First Christmas Witnessed: Those Surrounding Christ in Nativities." The Gallery St. John at Mount Saint John, 4400 Shakertown Road, Dayton, Ohio. Wednesday, Dec. 7, through Monday, Jan. 9. Open noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Special hours Dec. 24, 25, 31 and Jan. 1. Other times by appointment. Call 937-320-5405.

"Into the Silence. Crèches from the Marian Library." Transfiguration Center, 3505 Calumet Road, Ludlow Falls, Ohio. Monday, Nov. 28, through Sunday, Jan. 8. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 1-4 p.m. Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18. Closed Dec. 25-26; Jan. 1-2. For other hours and information call 937-698-7180 or visit http://www.transfigurationcenter.com.

For information visit http://udayton.edu/libraries/manger or call 937-229-4234.