University of Pittsburgh
November 24, 2008

Pitt to Host Annual Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House Dec. 7

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

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning Commons Room will be filled with the sounds of music as folk singers and dancers perform and Nationality Room committees offer ethnic foods and crafts for purchase during the free annual Nationality Rooms Holiday Open House from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 7 at 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

Each year, the 27 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, guides in national dress will adapt their daily presentations to include descriptions of holiday traditions celebrated throughout the world.

In addition, Open House attendees will be able view traditional performances by the Pittsburgh Chinese and Ren Wen Chinese schools, the Japanese KOTO players, Grecian Odyssey Dancers, Young Filipino Americans of Pittsburgh, Italian I Paesani dancers, Swiss Schweizer Männerchor 'Helvetia," Yugoslav Jedinstvo of Pittsburgh, as well as the Indian Bhangra and dancers from the Scottish and Thai groups. Intricate bobbin lace weaving will be demonstrated in the Croghan Schenley Room.

Participants and sponsors are Pitt's African Heritage, Austrian, Chinese, Czechoslovak, Finnish, French, 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, the Women's International Club, the University of Pittsburgh's Women's Association, and the Pittsburgh Folk Festival.

The Nationality Classrooms are gifts to the University from Pittsburgh's ethnic groups. Built between 1938 and 2008, the rooms are designed in an architectural style appropriate to the countries for which they are named.

The holiday tours run through Jan 17. The rooms are closed Dec. 24, 25, and 26, 2008, and Jan. 1, 2009. 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 the Nationality Rooms Programs office at 412-624-6150 or visit

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