Nestled in the busy town of Birkirkara lies a cocoon of calm – a museum where over 1,500 statues of Baby Jesus are on display, including one that used to be owned by St Ġorġ Preca. The brainchild of Paul Pace, this unique collection with a global flavour has today become a labour of love for his whole family.
It all started when Mr Pace was handed his first statue of Baby Jesus by his grandmother when he was five years old.
Over time, Mr Pace became a passionate collector and today he has over 2,000 Baby Jesuses, too many to all fit in the museum.
The family had bought a place specifically to house the museum and keep it open all the year round for locals and tourists to visit and admire. It is open every day in December and by appointment during the rest of the year. The statues come in all shapes and sizes and are made of materials that range from wax, papier-maché, wood, clay and lead to resin, chalk, stone, pottery and even porcelain. The works of art are from different periods, with the oldest going back to 1730. Bought from a local antiques shop, it was made in Sicily. Some were made by local artists, the most prestigious by renowned sculptor Mariano Gerada, whose works are to be found in churches around the island. Among the collection are statues from Peru, Tanzania, Bethlehem, Prague, Trapani and Atocia in Spain. Mr Pace explains that there are also a few sentimental statues, for which the hair of his children and grandchildren was used to substitute the synthetic hair which had fallen away with time.
The Baby Jesus Museum is at 17, St Theresa Street, Birkirkara (opposite the Sanctuary of St Theresa). Opening hours are: Monday to Saturday 4.30pm to 8pm. Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to noon and from 4.30 to 8pm. For group visits, contact Paul Pace on 7949 2111.