Kane County History: The 'Background' on Geneva's Famous Creche

Kane County History: The ‘Background’ on Geneva’s Famous Creche

Dennis Gramlich working on the Neapolitan landscape painting in the museum’s Bencini room while onlookers watch through the windows. (All photos courtesy of the Geneva History Museum.)

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a weekly series on Kane County’s amazing history. This article is contributed by Terry Emma, director of the Geneva History Museum. All photos are courtesy of the Geneva History Museum.

One of the most popular traditions of the holiday season in Geneva is viewing the Crèche, or manger scene, at the Geneva History Museum.

Neapolitan Crèche within the French provincial bed at The Little Traveler during the 1950s.

The 18th century Neapolitan Crèche is displayed in the same seventeenth century French provincial corner bed in which it was displayed at The Little Traveler as early as 1930.

Kate Raftery, proprietor of The Little Traveler, acquired the incredible collection of figures constructed of terra-cotta, wood, wire and fiber, while traveling in Europe and created a holiday tradition for Geneva’s community centered around the display.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Crèche will not be on display to the public this year. Instead, the public is invited to attend our free Nov.10 Virtual Brown Bag featuring local Geneva watercolorist Dennis Gramlich.

During the summer, Dennis created a 14-foot-long canvas painting of a Neapolitan landscape which wraps along the interior of our French provincial bed, providing a back drop for the Crèche scene.

During the Brown Bag, Dennis will discuss his inspiration behind the beautiful scene as well as share and unveil photographs of the final product. The full Crèche and background will be unveiled to the public Christmas 2021.

Be one of the first to view our new Crèche backdrop and join us for this virtual event at noon Tuesday, Nov. 10.

To register for this FREE event, visit GenevaHistoryMuseum.org or call 630-232-4951.

Neapolitan Crèche set up in 2019.

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