The International Nativity Museum lies at the heart of the town of Bethlehem, at a walkable distance away from the Nativity Church. It is located in the ground floor of the historical Salesian convent of Bethlehem. The Museum has a collection of over 200 cribs of different styles and dimensions and from different parts of the world. This variety of the cribs creates a rhapsody of customs, liturgy, rites and culture. They are from the hands of experts and artisans, who are illuminated with their integral thoughts of the religiosity and of the particular places of origin. Every crib of the museum is inspiring and unique in itself, displaying the birth of Christ in different places, different times and through different cultural and artistic lenses
Visitors can witness the artistic taste of almost all the countries of the world at one and the same time: from the wooden- carved cribs from African countries to the andine and south American wood-cribs to the charm of the Asiatic pieces and the European scenes, which space out from the rigorous traditional representation to the most original pieces of art. Endorsed by UNESCO, and sustained by the Palestinian National Authority and the Italian Ministry of foreign affairs, the Museum has been officially inaugurated on Christmas Eve in 1999, at the same time of the proclamation of the Millennium Jubilee in Rome. The major political and religious authorities of Palestine and Italy attended the ceremony: the Palestinian Prime Minister Yasser Arafat, the Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema and the General Director of UNESCO.
The Museum evoked enthusiastic interest, but unfortunately it has been stifled by the events
of the Second intifada (Uprise) broken out in September 2000, which lasted for several
years. But this did not halt the functioning of the Museum. All cribs on display have been
kindly donated by international artists, museum and private collectors upon invitation of
Alfredo Troisi, the promoter of this initiative as well as the International Fair of
Praesepium in Art and Tradition which takes place every year in Verona.
Over the years new cribs have been donated and exposed and the collection is still growing, thanks to the contribution of artists and generous supporters. Today the International Nativity Museum is ready to welcome Pilgrims every day according to a flexible timetable (morning, afternoon and evening). The visit to the Museum is guided by the collaborators or by the Salesians themselves in different languages.
Your visit and your contribution is highly appreciated for the promotion of art and culture and above all, faith.