Each room is decorated for the holidays.
From wreaths hanging on windows to Christmas trees adorned with ornaments and wrapped in sparkling bright lights to nativity scenes with the baby Jesus lying in a manger.
They are dressed up for the 27th annual Nationality Rooms Program Holiday Open House from noon to 4 p.m. on Dec. 2 at the Cathedral of Learning on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland.
“This event re-introduces the nationality rooms to people,” says Maryann H. Sivak, assistant to the director Nationality Rooms and Intercultural exchange programs University Center for international studies University of Pittsburgh. “It shows the diversity we have here, which is even more important to embrace after what happened at Tree of Life.”
Admission is free
This tradition will feature student organization Quo Vadis presentations of the decorated Nationality Rooms, as well as traditional dance performances, foods and crafts. Close to 4,000 guests are expected.
The Nationality Rooms are located on the first and third floors of the Cathedral of Learning. Each was designed to represent the culture of various ethnic groups that settled in Allegheny County and are supported by these cultural groups and governments. Tours are conducted year round. The public is invited to experience their ethnic identity and ancestral roots. The rooms are also in use as university classrooms.
During the year, there are several ways to experience the rooms. Guided tours are available for organized groups of 10 or more people, with a reservation made in advance. Self-guided tours are applicable for the individual tourist or small group and are available only at certain times of the year, dependent on classes being in session or not. You can also tour the rooms online through pictures, video and audio.
This is the only university in the U.S. to have nationality rooms not sponsored by a company, says Sivak. These rooms represent the immigrants who brought good things to America, she says.
In a publication for the nationality rooms former Pitt chancellor Wesley W. Posvar says “More than any other single asset, the Nationality Rooms epitomize the University of Pittsburgh character by melding culture, beauty and learning. In their diversity, the rooms preserve and honor our ethnic identities. Collectively, they symbolize our national unity.”
The Nationality Rooms
University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning, Oakland
The African Heritage Room
The Armenian Nationality Room
The Austrian Nationality Room
The Chinese Nationality Room
The Czechoslovak Nationality Room
The Early American Room
The English Nationality Room
The French Nationality Room
The German Nationality Room
The Greek Nationality Room
The Hungarian Nationality Room
The Indian Nationality Room
The Irish Nationality Room
The Israel Heritage Room
The Italian Nationality Room
The Japanese Nationality Room
The Korean Heritage Room
The Lithuanian Nationality Room
The Norwegian Nationality Room
The Polish Nationality Room
The Romanian Nationality Room
The Russian Nationality Room
The Scottish Nationality Room
The Swedish Nationality Room
The Swiss Nationality Room
The Syria-Lebanon Room
The Turkish Nationality Room
The Ukrainian Nationality Room
The Welsh Nationality Room
The Yugoslav Nationality Room
Coming in June 2019
The Philippine Nationality Room
Coming in June 2019
After more than 20 years of planning and fundraising, the Philippine Nationality Room is nearing completion. The space will be blessed on Dec. 1 and officially dedicated on June 9, 2019.
It is the type of architecture that originated during the Philippines’ Spanish colonial period and combines Filipino and Spanish influences, says Sivak. The basis for this design was provided by architect Popi Laudico from Manila. Waren Bulseco is the architect of record and has been involved with the creation of this room. Despite the large variations in architecture throughout the more than 7,000 islands of the Philippines, the traditional 18th-century design and decor will be immediately recognizable to anyone of Filipino heritage.
JoAnne Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062 or [email protected] or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.