F: Hello and welcome to the House of the Crèches, our "Domus Praesepiorum" in Klüsserath. We’ve assembled a remarkable and wide-ranging display of Christmas cribs for you, arranged across three floors. The exhibition includes more than a hundred nativity scenes from all over the world – regional examples as well as historical and contemporary versions.
M: But first, let me say a few words about the building that houses our museum. It was built in around 1680 as a three-storey wine-grower’s house. It‘s one of the last remaining examples of a style of building known as a "Winkelhaus", which was typical of the Moselle region – where the dwelling, the farm building and the barn are built at right angles to one another. You’re now standing in the old barn, with the former residence to your left.
F: The house was once a listed building, but it fell into disrepair and was due to be demolished. However, thanks to the Klüsserath Friends of the Crèche, this historic building has survived. After we purchased the house, we renovated and restored it with the support of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. A lot of the work was done by our members, and we tried to preserve as much of the original fabric as possible. That was in 2008. If you take a look at the pictures by the cash desk, you can see what the place used to look like. By the 29th of May 2010, everything was ready, and we were able to open the museum.
M: You’ll be hearing more about the Klüsserather Krippenfreunde – the Klüsserath Friends of the Crèche – in the course of your tour. Perhaps you’re wondering who’s behind it all, and what kind of people devote their free time to Christmas cribs and even volunteer to operate this museum?
F: All this and much more will become clear as you make your way around the exhibition. But for the moment: enjoy your visit – we hope you’ll find it both interesting and entertaining.
Fotos: © Crib Museum and © Trüpschuch