About the Exhibit

This Christmas season, we invite you and your family to experience one of our most beloved traditions.  Born This Happy Morning: Crèches from Around the World features nativity scenes—or, crèches—from dozens of different countries, showcasing a world of creative and diverse representations.

Each year, curator Lori Amos compiles a selection of around 100 crèches for display, accounting for the full collection’s (over 700 sets) breadth of materials, techniques and places of origin.

  • 100 nativity sets on display
  • 61 countries and 17 states represented
  • Some of the more unique materials include volcanic ash, coal, dried seed pods, glass beads, and the root of a coffee plant

Experience the Exhibit

Born This Happy Morning: Crèches from Around the World is open from November 20, 2023 through February 2, 2024. The exhibit is included with your General Sightseeing Admission. These sightseeing hours vary day-to-day to accommodate the wide range of activities and ministries offered at the Cathedral. You may arrive at any time during your ticket day’s open hours.

The exhibit is located on the lower level (crypt).


About the Sommer Collection

Beulah Sommer was the prime force in establishing both the Cathedral’s crèche exhibit and the crèche collection. She served the Cathedral in many capacities, including as a docent and member of the National Cathedral Association. In 1998, she donated more than 600 crèches from her personal collection for use in the Cathedral’s yearly crèche exhibit.

Her extraordinary gift forms the core of this diverse collection and represents the 40 years she spent collecting crèches around the world. Mrs. Sommer wished to share the collection in a location where as many people as possible could enjoy it, and is pleased it has brought joy to so many visitors.