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Christmas at the museum

Pioneer culture, creches, Prophet's birthday highlight Yuletide plans

A performance of pioneer dancing, a birthday celebration for the Prophet Joseph Smith and a world-class collection of Polish Nativity scenes will highlight an array of Christmastime events at the Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City.

Dance performance

The Yuletide season at the museum begins Dec. 6 with a dance performance provided by the Pioneer Heritage Company in conjunction with the Blue Sage Band, entitled "A Pioneer Heritage Christmas: A Time for Dancing."

Tickets for the performance, to be staged in the museum's theater, can be obtained at www.lds.org/events through Temple Square Ticketing.

Joseph Smith birthday celebration

To extend gratitude for Jesus Christ into the new year, the museum will observe the Dec. 23, 1805, birthday of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who helped restore a complete knowledge of Christ in this dispensation, with a celebration Dec. 23-Jan. 3.

Festivities will include storytelling, birthday treats, crafts and games, a theater show, and a discovery tour enabling children to explore artifacts throughout the museum pertaining to the Prophet's life.

Polish creche exhibit

Fifty handcrafted Polish Nativity scenes on loan from Walter Whipple, professor of Slavic languages at BYU, will be displayed Nov. 21-Jan. 25.

Titled "The Birth and Childhood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ: Folk Art From Poland," 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." Also included are 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."

Other activities

Several other free events will be featured at the museum, including "Christmas: a Time for Families," from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6. Described as "a journey back through time to visit a Pioneer Christmas," it will enable families to share in and learn about traditional Christmas celebrations with several "visitors" from the 1850s. The festivities include Christmas caroling.

The museum will also host daily programs throughout the season, including a Christmas creche scavenger hunt, pioneer-period parlor games, living Nativity role-playing, storytelling and handmade decorations and Christmas gifts.

Museum docents will offer specialized holiday tours about Polish wood carvings and favorite Christmas memories of the presidents of the Church.

For more details, contact the museum at 801-240-8376 or see an on-ling schedule at www.lds.org/churchhistory/museum.

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