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.

Paul and Mary Pace with their vast collection.Paul and Mary Pace with their vast collection.

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.

Whenever we go abroad, the first thing we look for is statues of Baby Jesus to continue enhancing our collection

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.

The Baby Jesus that used to belong to St Ġorġ Preca.The Baby Jesus that used to belong to St Ġorġ Preca.

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.

Another important collector’s item is a Baby Jesus that used to belong to St Ġorġ Preca, which Mr Pace had bought from a relative.

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.

“Nowadays, every member of the family contributes to this magnificent collection. Whenever we go abroad, the first thing we look for is statues of Baby Jesus to continue enhancing our collection.

“In fact, our passion and love for this exhibition sometimes dictates the choice of where we travel. Our visit to the Holy Land was an incredible experience. It gave the whole family the opportunity of visiting the places where our Lord lived,” Mr Pace recalls.

It was also to the ideal place to acquire some beautiful and unique statues for the collection.

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.

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