Buon Natale:
Crèches of Italy

The Knights of Columbus Museum’s 10th annual Christmas crèche exhibition, Buon Natale: Crèches of Italy, features two dozen Italian inspired Nativity scenes on display. The highlight of the show is a 120-square-foot Neapolitan diorama.

Crèches have been a popular part of Western Christianity for more than 800 years. Introduced in Italy by St. Francis of Assisi, they served as a way for everyday people to reflect on Jesus’ modest birth. Through the centuries, crèches have developed into large and ornate displays in communities as well as humble presentations for homes.

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In 1917, as the United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson formed the Committee on Public Information (CPI) as one means to support the cause of American troops abroad through propaganda. The CPI’s chairman, George Creel, a journalist and political advocate, appealed to prominent illustrator Charles Dana Gibson for assistance in assembling a faction of professionals to take up the cause of preparing posters and other visual messages in support of the war effort, which came to be called the Division of Pictorial Publicity.

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