Landmark Shows Off 700 Nativity Scenes

KIRTLAND, Ohio — A national historic landmark is starting the holidays with a focus on the true meaning of Christmas — times 700.

Nearly 700 nativity scenes on loan from owners all over the world are on display at Kirtland Village as part of the “Unto Us a Son is Born” exhibit.

“It’s a great way to start off the holiday season,” said Jennie Best, nativity exhibit coordinator. “To really focus on the true meaning of what the holiday season is.”

They come in all shapes and sizes, and many are handmade by local artists. The largest is made of olive wood and was shipped in from Jerusalem. It’s four feet by six feet wide, about four feet tall and is assembled from 20 pieces of wood.

“It’s a great way to unite the community. Most of these, in fact all of these nativities, are on loan to us from community members,” said Best. “A lot donate year after year. In fact, one lady drove from Rochester, New York, to bring us over 40 of her nativities, and she’ll obviously come back and pick them up.”

There are also photos of living nativity scenes, where participants act out the story of Jesus’ birth, along with an international nativity scene stamp collection and hand-made Christmas cards.

There’s also a children’s room with nativity sets kids can play with, and a life-sized stable so visitors can get their pictures taken.

It’s the 10th year for the display. Admission is free, and it will be open through Dec. 30.

For more information on the display, click here.