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Nativity's roots run deep

Phil DiNovo, the museum's president, said he is happy to feature such a fine piece in the museum. This is the first season for the museum in Colonie, as it was located in Utica before this. DiNovo was a professor and department chair in the SUNY system for 32 years.

DiNovo has an entire room dedicated to the traditions of Christmas in Italy, and he said in doing so he allows the museum to have something special to offer for the holiday season.

He said Italy takes its traditions seriously, and for some nativity scenes, the pieces are crafted over the course of an entire year.

"They would compete with each other for who had the best nativity scene," DiNovo said.

He said the museum serves a number of purposes in addition to displaying art, and helps tell stories that need to be told.

"We tell their stories because they are heroic stories. We tell of the contributions of Italian American immigrants," he said.

There are displays dedicated to the influence of Italian Americans in pop culture, sports and in military conflicts.

The Italian American Heritage Association owns the building at 1227 Central Ave. It was founded in 1979 and has 1,250 members in 37 states and six countries.

"We want people from all over to come here," DiNovo said. "The culture is very rich."

DiNovo said the history preserved in the museum tells many important stories and highlights the good done by Italian Americans while also entertaining its visitors.

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