University of Pittsburgh
November 11, 2008

Pitt Nationality Rooms Committees to Decorate the 27 Ethnic Classrooms for Holiday Season Nov. 15

Annual holiday open house is Dec. 7
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Nearly 100 members of the University of Pittsburgh's 27 Nationality Room committees will decorate their rooms in traditional holiday grandeur, displaying holiday customs from around the world, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 15.

Each year, the rooms that encircle the Cathedral of Learning's Commons Room, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland, are trimmed to reflect their ethnic heritage, including such decorations as Lithuanian geometric straw ornaments, Polish paper cutouts, German gingerbread cookies, a French crèche, and a hand-carved Austrian manger scene. Guides will adapt their daily presentations to include descriptions of holiday traditions celebrated throughout the world.

During weekends from Nov. 16 through Jan 18-except Dec. 27 and 28-taped tours are available without prior reservations, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. The rooms are closed on Thanksgiving Day but open the day after and from Dec. 27 through 31 at 10: 30 a.m., on first-come, first-served guided tours. The University is closed Dec. 24, 25, and 26, 2008, and Jan. 1, 2009. In all cases, the last tour begins at 2:30 p.m.

Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children ages eight to 18. Children under eight are admitted free. Tickets will be sold at the information counter in the Cathedral's Commons Room. Reservations for guided tours are accepted for groups of 10 or more for dates after

Jan. 2. For the complete tour schedule, visit

The Holiday Open House, an annual event to showcase the decorated rooms, is scheduled from noon until 4 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Commons Rooms. The event is free. There will be traditional holiday performances every 15 minutes, as well as ethnic foods and crafts for sale.

Holiday decorations are removed Jan. 17 and 18. The University will offer narrated taped tours at 11 a.m. Jan. 19, Martin Luther King Jr. Day; the last tour leaves at 2:30 p.m.

For more information, call 412-624-6000 or visit

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