University of Pittsburgh
November 18, 2007

Pitt to Host Annual Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House Dec. 2

The free event includes performances by local area ethnic folk groups
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Folk singers and dancers will fill the University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning Commons Room, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland, with song and gaiety during the free annual Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 2, while various Nationality Room committees offer ethnic foods and crafts for purchase.

Each year, the 26 rooms that encircle the Cathedral of Learning's Commons Room are trimmed to reflect their ethnic heritages, including such decorations as Lithuanian geometric straw ornaments, Polish paper cutouts, German gingerbread cookies, a French crèche, and a hand-carved Austrian manger scene. For the open house, and during holiday tours, guides in native costume will adapt their daily presentations to include descriptions of holiday traditions celebrated throughout the world.

In addition, open house attendees will be able to view traditional performances and demonstrations by the Pittsburgh Chinese and Ren Wen Chinese schools, Grecian Odyssey Dancers, Natya Bhasah School of Dance, Young Filipino Americans of Pittsburgh, Scandinavian Folk Dancers of Pittsburgh as well as dancers from Irish, Ukrainian, and Latin American groups. An intricate bobbin lace weaving demonstration will be held in the Cathedral's Croghan Schenley Room.

Participants and sponsors are Pitt's African Heritage, Austrian, Chinese, Czechoslovakian, Finnish, German, Greek, Indian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Swedish, Syria-Lebanon, Ukrainian, Yugoslav, Latin American, Philippine, Swiss, Thai, Turkish, and Welsh groups, along with Quo Vadis and the Pitt Women's International Club and Women's Association.

The Nationality Classrooms are gifts to the University from Pittsburgh's ethnic groups. Built between 1938 and 2000, the rooms are designed in an architectural style appropriate to the country for which it is named.

The holiday tours run through Jan 18. The rooms are closed Dec. 24, 25, and 26, 2007, and Jan. 1, 2008. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children ages eight to 18. Children under eight are admitted free. For the complete tour schedule, visit

For more information about the open house, contact E. Maxine Bruhns at 412-624-6150 or visit