University of Pittsburgh
November 30, 2016

2016 Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House

Pitt’s 30 Nationality Rooms present 25th annual celebration of diverse and international holiday traditions Dec. 4
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The halls of the Cathedral of Learning will ring with cheer and festive exuberance during the University of Pittsburgh’s 2016 Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House. Pitt’s annual celebration of multicultural holiday traditions will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 4 in the Commons Room of the Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The event, celebrating its 25th year at Pitt, is free and open to the public.A scene from the 2015 Holiday Open House

Each of Pitt’s Nationality Room Committees—citizen groups who fundraise and support individual Nationality Rooms—will sponsor a lineup of international dance and musical performances. Committees also will set up individual booths, offering crafts, foods, and memorabilia for sale. Proceeds from sales will support the Nationality Rooms’ 2017 Summer Study Abroad Scholarships.Local children performing traditional fan dance

“For the past 25 years, the Holiday Open House has brought together Pittsburgh citizens from nearly every walk of life to acknowledge and celebrate the various ways that the world celebrates the holiday season,” said E. Maxine Bruhns, mistress of ceremonies and director of Pitt’s Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs, which are celebrating their 90th anniversary this year. “We extend a warm and welcome hand to everyone. This is the time of the year when we should all put aside our differences and rejoice in our commonalities as citizens of the world.”

Located on the Cathedral of Learning’s first and third floors, which encircle the Commons Room, Pitt’s Nationality Rooms are presently adorned with traditional holiday decorations that reflect their ethnic heritages. Quo Vadis Guides—Pitt-student tour guides with extensive knowledge of each Nationality Room—will be on hand, dressed in old-fashioned cultural attire and offering detailed information about the holiday traditions of the various ethnic groups represented by the rooms.

Established in 1926 by then-Chancellor John Bowman, Pitt’s Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Quo Vadis Guide giving a tour of the Armenian ClassroomPrograms pay tribute to the cultural traditions of ethnic groups that settled Allegheny County. Used as university classrooms, each of the 30 Nationality Rooms represents a time period prior to 1787, the year of the University’s founding and the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

The Nationality Rooms will be decked in holiday décor through Jan. 13, 2017. Daily tours, including audio-guided tours, are available to the general public on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. as well as 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, with all weekday tours ending at 4 p.m. Tours are $4 for adults and $2 for children. Nationality Classroom tours will be suspended Dec. 24-26, 2016, as well as Jan. 1, 2017, for Pitt’s winter recess. For more information, visit or call 412-624-6000.