University of Pittsburgh
November 8, 2009

Pitt Nationality Rooms Committees to Decorate Ethnic Classrooms for Holiday Season Nov. 14

Annual holiday open house is Dec. 6
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. and continuing until 3:30 p.m. Nov. 14.

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 beginning on Nov. 14 and continuing through Jan. 10-except for Dec. 27 and 28-taped tours are available without reservations, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. On Nov. 27 and from Dec. 27 through 31 the rooms are open for guided tours beginning at 10 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. The University is closed Nov. 26, Dec. 24, 25, and 26, 2009, and Jan. 1, 2010. 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. 6 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.

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