SALT LAKE CITY — This holiday season at the Church History Museum, in downtown Salt Lake City , visitors will enjoy a unique and unprecedented experience. For the first time in our history, the Museum will have on display a world class collection of fifty hand-crafted Polish nativity scenes on loan from Dr. Walter Whipple, Professor of Slavic Languages at Brigham Young University.

This charming Christmas exhibit, The Birth and Childhood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ: Folk Art from Poland, will be on display in the Church History Museum from Friday, November 21st through Sunday, January 25th, 2009.

A comprehensive representation of the birth of Jesus Christ, the exhibit consists of traditional wood carvings and back-painted-glass images of the Nativity story; including Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, Mary with the Christ Child, The Three Wise Men, The Presentation in the Temple, and The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt. Depictions of scenes from the childhood of Jesus; such as Jesus in Joseph’s Shop, Jesus with His Mother and Joseph, and Jesus with the Elders in the Temple, are also included; completing the story of the humble, yet glorious growth of the Savior.

The pieces in this collection are all one-of-a-kind compositions. They are direct expressions of genuine talent, humility and deep religious faith. The simple, vibrant, and stylized nature of these works communicates powerfully to viewers; stirring the human and aesthetic sensitivities and lifting the spirits of audiences of all ages.

The mood of excitement and joy accompanying this unique Christmas exhibit will be complemented by fun and exciting holiday activities and seasonal tours for children, youth, and families. These entertaining programs will be offered daily from November 21st through December 23rd , including evening and Saturday hours.

First Time Christmas Dance Performance

The Christmas season at the Museum will officially begin on December 6 th with a very special dance performance provided by the Pioneer Heritage Company in conjunction with The Blue Sage Band , entitled A Pioneer Christmas: A Time for Dancing. Tickets for the theatre performance can be obtained at http://www.lds.org/events, through Temple Square Ticketing.

The Church History Museum will also be offering several free events open to the general public, including: Christmas: A Time for Families: an enchanting evening journey back through time to visit a Pioneer Christmas held on December 6 th from 5:00pm-9:00pm. Families will share in and learn about traditional pioneer Christmas celebrations with several visitors from the 1850s. The festivities will include Christmas caroling as well.

The Church History Museum will also host daily holiday programs throughout the holiday season which will include special hands-on and discovery experiences exploring the Polish Christmas creche exhibit as well as other pioneer Christmas traditions. Activities available for visitors throughout the month will include: a Christmas creche scavenger hunt, pioneer period parlor games, living nativity role playing, storytelling, and handmade decorations and Christmas gifts. Museum docents will also offer specialized holiday tours about Polish wood carvings and favorite Christmas memories of the presidents of the Church. For more details about holiday activities, contact the Church History Museum at 801-240-8376 or see our online schedule at http://www.lds.org/churchhistory/museum.

A Birthday Celebration Dec 23rd—Jan.3rd

In order to extend our gratitude for Jesus Christ into the new-year, the Church History Museum will also celebrate the birthday of the prophet Joseph Smith, who helped restore a complete knowledge of Christ’s church for us in our dispensation. The Museum will celebrate Joseph’s birthday with the community daily from December 23 rd through January 3 rd . Brother Joseph’s birthday festivities will include storytelling and birthday treats, crafts and games, a theatre show, and a discovery tour that will facilitate children’s discovery of the life of Joseph Smith by exploring artifacts throughout the museum.