When most people think about mangers, they likely picture the stable with Mary and Joseph, in the company of the wise men and the angel Gabriel, smiling down at the baby Jesus in a bed of straw.
Not everyone envisions it this way, and this diverse picture of Christ’s first days is what you’ll find at the Away in 100 Mangers exhibit at the Bible Museum on the Square.
“It’s just incredible to see what people have imagined,” said the museum’s executive director Craig Gyergyo. “Many of these nativity scenes are works of art in and of themselves, and the opportunity to see this diverse collection assembled together from all six inhabited continents is a great opportunity for all of Greater Memphis.”
The second-year event is underway and features pieces from the collection of local physician Dr. Doug Campbell.
There are nativity scenes carved from soapstone and olive wood, others etched into a conch shell or formed from polymer clay. There are miniature manger scenes in matchboxes and one scene where the people are larger than the elephants and rhinoceros next to them.
The nesting matryoshka dolls, with their gold paint and jewel-toned scenes from the Bible, are a fan favorite, said Gyergyo.
Other pieces originate from places like Tanzania, Mexico, Korea, Germany and Canada, for instance, each featuring a nod to its local culture.
Some pieces are not carved, but rather are puzzles or wall hangings.
Each seems to focus on the way the birth of the Christ child brought people together.
Gyergyo hopes that same love for Christ will bring people together to visit the museum and see the works of art that will be on display for the next two months.
The manger exhibit accompanies the Christmas festivities that will take place on the square, from the tree lighting to the Shop Local Saturday events.
“We’re a good accent to all of that,” Gyergyo said.
There will also be live music on Friday nights.
The Bible Museum on the Square is located at 140 E. Mulberry Street. The cost to visit the exhibit is $5 per person or $15 per family.
For more information, see biblemuseumonthesquare.org.