Nativity Set

Daniel Dye / The Herald

This Polish nativity scene is carved from wood and painted by hand.

Over 350 nativity sets are on display at the Elmore County Museum until Friday.

Museum curator Sharon Fox said she has never worked with a collection that had more pieces than this exhibit.

"That 358 number is just the sets, not the individual pieces," she said. "It took five people four days to set up."

Fox said the owner keeps an additional 50 to 60 nativity sets on display at her home throughout the year.

While the owner of the collection did not want to be named in this article, Fox did give details about her the nativity sets.

"This actually started out when she told her husband she did not have a nativity," Fox said. "Word spread and the first year she received one from her mom, her husband and her aunt. Then it just snowballed from there.

"Her son travels the world and her husband travels all over the county. They buy nativities when they travel and like to buy the unusual ones."

Fox created a brochure for visitors that highlights 10 nativity sets from different locations around the world. There are sets from countries such as Japan, Poland, Russia, America, Germany, Kenya and Ecuador.

According to Fox, this is the fourth year the museum has managed the exhibit.

During the Christmas season, the museum has displayed nutcrackers and Santa Claus collections, but visitors requested the nativity sets.

"A couple of times we didn't have the nativity sets on display and people asked us to bring it back," she said.

Fox said the display opened the first week of December and, so far, close to 800 people have visited the museum to see the nativity sets.