PLAINVIEW, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Christmas has arrived early at Wayland Baptist University’s Mabee Regional Heritage Center, where an all-new collection of Carolyn Cunningham’s international Nativity scenes is on display.

According to WBU officials, the Nativity Exhibit is on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday to Friday through Dec. 19, when The Mabee closes for the Christmas break, Admission to the Christmas-theme exhibition is free. The Jimmy Dean Museum, Flying Queens Museum, and Museum of the Llano Estacado, all housed in The Mabee, are also open during these times.

“Last year, we were only able to display a part of Carolyn Cunningham’s collection of international Nativity scenes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. We had 50 Nativity sets from around the globe last year, but even more are on display this year,” said Kaylyn Bean, Director of Museums at Wayland. “The 2023 exhibition includes all new nativity scenes. All are different from last year’s exhibit, and all are quite unique.”

WBU officials stated that the 2023 Nativity Exhibit is The Mabee’s newest temporary exhibit and an encore presentation of the Lockney resident’s unique collection of Nativity scenes commemorating the birth of Jesus.

“These Nativity scenes are from all around the world,” said Bean. “The cultures of the different countries are easily seen in each set. It is so interesting to see all the different presentations of the Nativity. It is Christmas from every corner of the world.”

WBU officials also mentioned the purchase of a painted metal Nativity scene at a religious bookstore in Amarillo in the late 1980s started Cunningham’s fascination with Nativity scenes. After that initial purchase, Cunningham started to buy Nativity scenes at gift shops and through catalogs. After a while, she realized she had created a unique collection, and that collection continues to grow with additions every year.

“She bought some of her favorites to us last year, and she has brought even more for the new exhibit. Everything is new to us this year,” said Bean.

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