SALT LAKE CITY-This year’s Christmas display at the Museum of Church History and Art includes two new paintings of Mary and the newborn Jesus. Four creches will also be shown for the first time, among them a centuries-old German heirloom.
The historical nativity set, on loan from the Karl Wiehweger family, includes two large candle-driven windmills, along with dozens of hand-painted carved figures, some dating back five hundred years.
According to Museum curator Robert Davis, the Wiehweger family brought many of the pieces with them to the United States in 1953 when they fled their home in Blauenthal, in the Saxony region of East Germany. They acquired other pieces as collectors over the years. The complete set fills a 20-square-foot display case in the Museum, and includes two portrayals of the nativity scene, a large setting of shepherds in the countryside with angels overhead, and the flight into Egypt.
The newest addition to the Museum’s creche collection is a handsome, fired-brownware Native American scene. Navajo artist Harrison Begay Jr. delivered the set just as the exhibit was being installed. The individual pieces reflect the colors and ceramic methods of New Mexico where Begay creates pottery in the Diné style of his wife’s family.
A painted wood creche set from the Philippines, loaned by Ann Keysor, will also be shown for the first time. Davis said the nativity sets shown this year include fourteen museum- quality examples representing artistic traditions from Poland, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Italy, Ecuador, Israel, India, Japan, the Philippines, Germany and the United States.
Visitors will also be delighted by a newly acquired oil painting by Walter Rane that captures the moments immediately following the birth of the Christ Child. Also new to the Museum’s traditional display is Wellsville artist Michael Malm’s painting of the Virgin and Child, on loan from the Dennis Morganson family.
Flight into Egypt, a painting by Minerva K. Teichert, borrowed from the Salt Lake City School District, will also be shown for the first time.
The Christmas display can be seen weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The Museum will close at 5:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, at 11:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
The Museum is located at 45 North West Temple, adjacent to the Family History Library and a half block north of the Temple Square TRAX station. Commercial parking immediately behind the Museum is accessed from eastbound North Temple. For recorded information, dial 801-240-3310.