Pitt’s Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House to Be Held

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Rooms will be adorned with holiday decorations through Jan. 17

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PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh’s Commons Room will ring with the sounds of the holiday season during the 2014 Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House. The annual multicultural celebration will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 7 in Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The event is free and open to the public. 

Throughout the celebration, traditional dance and musical performances will enliven the Commons Room. Each Nationality Room Committee will offer authentic ethnic foods and crafts for sale; proceeds of sales will help fund the Nationality Room’s Summer Study Abroad Scholarships

Pitt’s 29 Nationality Classrooms—located on the first and third floors that encircle the Commons Room—are presently adorned in traditional holiday styles reflecting their ethnic heritages. For the event, guides wearing national dress will be stationed in each room, offering guests a detailed explanation of the various holiday traditions celebrated by the Rooms’ ethnic cultures. 

In the truest spirit of the holiday season, the Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House is an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to come together and celebrate both old world traditions as well as new friendships and partnerships,” said E. Maxine Bruhns, mistress of ceremonies and director of Pitt’s Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs. “When the Nationality Rooms were founded in 1926, then-Chancellor John Bowman had a desire to showcase the great contributions various cultures have made to the foundation of America. Today, the Nationality Rooms represent the noblest heritages of the ethnic groups, which have helped to make Pittsburgh an industrial and cultural model for the world. At this annual event, we perpetuate the customs and the traditions which have made our city unique.” 

The Nationality Rooms, which are also used as classrooms, were designed to represent the culture of ethnic groups that have settled in Allegheny County. The rooms are maintained and supported by these cultural groups and governments in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh. 

The Nationality Rooms will be decked in holiday décor through Jan. 17, 2015, and daily tours, including audio-guided tours, of the rooms are available to the general public from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; tours are $4 for adults and $2 for children. Nationality Room tours will be suspended Dec. 24-26, 2014, as well as Jan. 1, 2015, for winter recess. For more information, visit www.nationalityrooms.pitt.edu or call 412-624-6000. 

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