When picturing a Christmas nativity, one doesn’t normally think of African safari animals — unless a trip to the Monte L. Bean Museum is made.
On BYU campus, students, faculty and visitors alike look forward to the Bean Museum nativity that takes place annually during December. The exhibit attracts many, because of the wide array of animals used to portray the nativity. What is thought to only have sheep and maybe a cow or two is amplified with bears, penguins, kangaroos and other exotic animals interspersed.
Patty Jones, administrative assistant at the museum, said she has enjoyed seeing the exhibit for the last six years she has been employed at the museum.
“Our mission statement at the museum talks about Jesus Christ as our creator and testifying of him,” Jones said. “I think it’s really an amazing opportunity for us to incorporate the nativity of Jesus Christ’s birth in with the museum and the natural science here – the animals.”
LesliAnn Hansen, a BYU graduate and mother of three, takes her children to the museum every year to see the nativity, and said she loves the unique twist the Bean Museum brings to it.
“My kids love all the animals,” Hansen said. “They always enjoy seeing the different ones they add each year, and it’s a fun and special way to incorporate the birth of Jesus Christ into a family activity. We always have fun at the Bean Museum, and it reminds me of the times I went there as a student.”
Kari Christiansen, 19, a sophomore pre-communications major and an employee at the museum, has worked there since August, and has enjoyed seeing the nativity this holiday season.
“It’s so neat because it was a bigger variety of animals than your typical nativity,” Christiansen said. “It brings so much more attraction and attention to the museum than it typically gets.”
The nativity scene will be up in the Bean Museum until Christmas Day. The museum is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.