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Pittsburgh's Nationality Rooms Holiday Display

By Heather Wampler

The University of Pittsburgh is a magnificent school. The main campus is nestled in the heart of Oakland, which is about five minutes (literally) outside of downtown Pittsburgh. The campus is fairly large and boasts the Cathedral of Learning. It's a 42-story Gothic cathedral that is home of the Nationality Rooms.

(Photo: KDKA)

Hours: Mon - Sat: 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (last tour)
Sun /Holidays: 11 :00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Closed on: Thanksgiving Day, December 24, 25, 26, New Year's Day

They offer themes that are made of wood and glass, iron and stone, fabric, color, and words. The wondrous ideas were drawn from varied cultures and civilizations such as Athens in the time of Pericles, a palace hall in Beijing's Forbidden City, an ancient monastic Indian university, flowers that grow in Czech and Slovak valleys, a 6th-century oratory from Ireland's Golden Age, an Asante temple courtyard in Ghana, London's House of Commons, and the intimate hearth-centered life of America's early New Englanders.

It's educational, they decorate it for the holidays AND it's cheap. There is so much to teach your children in those 27 rooms that if you live in or are visiting the area, it's worth the trip. It's close enough to downtown and Station Square that after enriching your souls with the various cultures of the world, you can grab a quick bite to eat.

Even if you are not in town for the holidays, it could be worth a visit when you come back. While it may not be decorated, it is still very fascinating.

The Nationality Rooms are decorated in traditional holiday styles from November 12th, 2011 through January 15th, 2012.

The decorations will be removed January 14 and 15, 2012. Starting January 21, weekend tape tours are available for the rooms in their normal appearance. Reservations for guided tours are accepted for groups of 10 or more, made by prior arrangement for dates after January 2, 2009.

Monday, January 16th (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day): They offer narrated tape tours from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

(Photo: Thinkstock)

Tour Information:

When school is in session, the rooms function as classrooms.

Fall Term (September to the December recess) and Spring Term (January to the term's end in April)

Audiotape tours are only available on the weekends during these months. Hours listed above.

When school is out of session, from the end of April to the beginning of the Fall Term in September, audiotape tours are available throughout the week.

Guided group tours are available for groups of 10 or more; reservations must be made two weeks in advance. Group tours booked when school is in session can only visit available rooms not in use for classes.

Heather Wampler is a mom and blogger living in the great city of Pittsburgh with her family. If you are interested in reading more by Heather, you can go to

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