Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 20: The Nationality Rooms

 of Joy!

I have lived in Pittsburgh since 1985, and have never visited the Nationality Rooms at Pitt's Cathedral of Learning. I finally made it with one of my besties and our 9 crazy kids in tow on Day 20!

The Nationality Rooms were designed to showcase the melting pot of cultures that have settled in the Pittsburgh area in the past several hundred years. They're open all year round (and even serve as classrooms for the Pitt students when school is in session), but Christmas is the best time to visit them because they're all decorated for Christmas. Each one also has information about the country's Christmas traditions. I'm not certain how many there are, but we didn't get to at least two thirds of them, and we saw at least ten.

The Austrian room was my favorite. Beautiful!

Because each room also serves as a classroom, the University had local artisans and craftsmen from each country design a case for the chalkboard. The kids loved seeing how each one of these was different and reflected various aspects of the individual cultures.

The Swiss Room:

The African Room - A sculpture of a crocodile catching a fish.

The fireplace that was built to keep the students warm while they learned is big enough for all of them to stand in, with room to spare!

The rooms are amazing - next year we'll probably plan two trips, because there is so much to see that it's hard to take it all in in one day, especially with little kids. It was a wonderful learning experience for them, and perhaps the most awesome part was the Cathedral itself. The kids could not believe that when you go to university, you get to learn in a real live castle! They just don't make buildings like this anymore. The architecture is stunning, and I loved that the kids appreciated its beauty. We talked about the amount of time that went into creating a building of this magnitude, the amount of hands and hours it must have taken to put each stone in place. Things that are strong and lovely and worthwhile take time. I pray that as I'm learning this, they are too.

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