Address: 1 State St., New Haven, CT
November 11, 2022 - February 5, 2023
Around the globe, the annual celebration of Christmas is filled with popular customs and displays. Some follow from Christian tradition and the birth of Christ 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. Others originate from distinct cultural practices in various nations and world regions. Each year, the Knights of Columbus features Nativity scenes and seasonal art as the highlight of its Christmas exhibition at the Blessed Michael McGivney Pilgrimage Center.
The Center’s 2022 show, Christmas in the Castle, brings a popular collection to New Haven. The exhibit, which opened November 11 and continues through February 5, 2023, includes nearly Nativity scenes, from Glencairn Museum collection in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, in a setting designed to replicate the immersive environment of the museum’s architecture.
Glencairn has featured its annual World Nativities exhibition since 2009. The museum, which occupies the former home of the Raymond and Mildred Pitcairn family, is temporarily closed during a comprehensive infrastructure renewal of the historic castle-like house. In the spirit of the Christmas, however, the Glencairn collection is on view at the McGivney Center.
The Center also maintains the Knights of Columbus collection of Nativity scenes, comprising 300 artworks from around the world. A selection of these is displayed as part of a complementary exhibition in two additional galleries. Items range in size from a Nativity in a walnut shell to the Center’s popular, 100-plus-figure Neapolitan diorama.
Another staple of the season at the McGivney Center is its Christmas Tree Festival. Annually, the Center welcomes Connecticut elementary school students to decorate its many Christmas trees. This year, 20 schools will visit to adorn dedicated trees with creative, handmade ornaments and trim. The decorating takes place from November 16 to December 16.
The McGivney Center (formerly the Knights of Columbus Museum) is located at 1 State Street in New Haven. It is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free admission and parking. More information is available at 203-865-0400 or michaelmcgivneycenter.org