Director Maxine Bruhns graciously shared her perspective of the Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh. Originally 18 rooms, there are now 30, paid for and supported by the ethnic community in Pittsburgh. Each novel classroom “captures lasting cultural values in 18th Century appearance,” noted Michael Walter, our guide. We observe harp knots and stone carvings in the monastic eight-seat Irish Room, rose marble flooring, a mosaic patriot and secret compartments in Romanian Room, an inately Swedish farmhouse recreation with whimsy in the frescoes, classic Greek symmetry and hand stenciling with gold leaf gilding, an urban courtyard reflecting diversity in language, music, art and science in the African Heritage Room, and an Armenian Room based on a library in an ancient monastery. Fascinating, although today’s undergrads are cautioned not to bring food or drink inside to preserve the integrity of each space. The beauty of these rooms extends to others: through fundraisers this year, 47 Nationality Room Scholarships were awarded.
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