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Free exhibit explores Nativities and the Natural World

The University of Dayton’s annual Christmas exhibit explores the plants and animals that artists use in Nativity scenes when telling the story of Jesus’ birth.

“We invite the community to see how Christmas connects to the natural world in which Christ was born with highlights in our collection that show Nativity sets made with gourds, mother-of-pearl, beeswax and more,” said Kayla Harris, Marian Library director.

The free exhibit opens Nov. 20 in Roesch Library. More information on hours, parking and closed dates is available online at

New this year, audio tours are available for each gallery. Family-friendly interactive stations also allow visitors to create a poinsettia ornament and decorate a Nativity scene Christmas card with animals of their choice. Marking the 800th anniversary of the Nativity, a timeline demonstrates how the Nativity tradition carries on since St. Francis’ first scene in 1223.

The University of Dayton Marian Library crèche collection has more than 3,600 sets from many parts of the world. The library, which strives to make the Virgin Mary better known and loved, marks its 80th anniversary this year. The Marian Library has grown to hold 112,200 books in 150 languages, some dating back to the 15th century; along with 30,000 Marian postcards, 10,000 holy cards, 9,000 stamps, 700 pieces of sheet music, rosaries, wine bottle labels and more.


News and Communications Staff