See the largest collection of Nativity scenes in New England

Angels made from folder paper at the International Crèche Museum in Attleboro, Massachusetts

Photos by Cheryl Landes

I’d never heard of any museum that extensively collected Nativity scenes until I discovered the International Crèche Museum in Attleboro, Massachusetts. I found it during a trip to the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette to see the Christmas Celebration of Lights.

The museum has the largest collection of Nativities in New England – more than 1,000 from at least 100 countries. They come in all shapes and sizes and are made from wood, beads, clay, paper, and many other materials:

Driftwood from Canada

Bottle caps from Kenya

LEGO blocks

Gingerbread from Mississippi

Bread from Massachusetts

The Rev. Msgr. Charles DesRuisseaux, a retired priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, started the collection in 1973 after his aunt gave him a nativity set she made with unusual materials like old spools from the Amoskeag Mill in Manchester and egg shells. He donated the entire collection to the shrine, and it continues to grow.

A nativity created by Native Americans in Colorado at the International Crèche Museum in Attleboro, Massachusetts
The Wise Men in a boat from Washington State at the International Crèche Museum in Attleboro, Massachusetts

The International Crèche Museum and shrine are located at 947 Park Street in Attleboro (get directions).

A Nativity scene from Quebec at the International Crèche Museum in Attleboro, Massachusetts

Since my visit to the International Crèche Museum, I found another museum that has an even larger collection of Nativity scenes – 3,500 – at the Marian Library at the University of Dayton, Ohio. View each piece from a list organized alphabetically by country at the International Crèche Collection of the Marian Library page.

A large Nativity scene outside the International Crèche Museum in Attleboro, Massachusetts

One thought on “See the largest collection of Nativity scenes in New England

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s