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New Bethlehem exhibit coming to BYU museum


This story is sponsored by Museum of Peoples & Cultures. Learn more about Museum of Peoples & Cultures.

BYU welcomes a new cultural exhibit to its Museum of Peoples and Cultures opening Oct. 17, titled “Returning to Bethlehem: A Cultural Pilgrimage.” The exhibit was made possible by the BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures in partnership with the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) and celebrates the historic and cultural identities of Bethlehem.

Traditional Palestinian bridal dresses, olive-wood carvings and mother-of-pearl artifacts will be on display for the first time at BYU in this exhibit. The dresses are on loan from the internationally famous costume collection of Hanan and Farah Munayyer of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation. The olive-wood collection contains replicas of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The stunning mother-of-pearl artifacts were created by Columbian-Palestinian artist, Enrique Daccarett.

“Returning to Bethlehem: A Cultural Pilgrimage” is designed to reflect a visitor’s experience of seeing Bethlehem today, depicting Manger Square and other important religious sites. The exhibit also presents how the cultural identity of Bethlehem changes over time and space and is linked to historic events, architecture, landmarks and community heroes.

This exhibit is the capstone event of a two-year museum training effort that involved BYU students enrolled in museum studies classes taught by Dr. Cynthia Finlayson and Paul Stavast, director of the BYU museum.

The BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures hosts important ethnographic and technological collections from Utah, the Southwest, as well as from cultures around the world. It is the training museum for BYU students interested in careers in museum studies, archaeology, ethnography and cultural anthropology.

The exhibit will run from Oct. 17, 2018, through April 2019.

In relation to this exhibit, BYU will also be hosting presenters as part of the BYU Anthropology Speaker Series. On Oct. 17, Hanan Munayyer, president of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation, will discuss “Identity and Textiles: The Origins of Palestinian Costume and Embroidery” at 4 p.m. in the main lecture hall of the Harold B. Lee Library. On Oct. 22 at 4 p.m., the Kennedy Center Lecture room will hold a panel discussion on “Palestine and Humanitarian Efforts of NGO’s and Non-Profits: Hope and Challenges.”