December 7-January 9, 2020

For more than fifty years, Carol Olthoff has been collecting nativities. From manger scenes that fit in the palm of her hand to life-size nativities (and everything between), Carol’s collection now exceeds more than 1,200 sets. Each year, she spends weeks setting them up at the Columbus Center in Great Falls, thoughtfully arranging each piece as an artist arranges their gallery.

As unique as it is extensive, Carol’s collection—dubbed “Once Upon a Nativity”— features a wide diversity of pieces. Nearly every country is represented in some way in the exhibit, and while many are professionally made, some of the most interesting are those done by hand. One impressive-looking nativity was made by Carol’s sister with papier-mâché and yarn. Another is painted on an ironing board. Another yet was created more than fifty years ago and is made of bread!

2020 marks the tenth year of Once Upon a Nativity. Carol invites the public to visit the second floor of the Columbus Center during Epiphany and see how this labor of love has grown. As always, viewing is free to the public.

In Carol’s own words: “This is my gift to the community.”

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