Denton County Woman Turns Nativity Collection Into Museum

Judy Klein celebrates Christmas year-round with 3,000 nativities


A Denton County woman celebrates the holidays year-round with her one-of-a-kind nativity collection.

Judy Klein, known as "The Manger Maid," has grown her collection from one scene in 1970 into a nativity museum.

"Collecting wasn't in my mind," Klein said.

However, that one scene quickly multiplied.

"Another one came from somewhere and another one and another one and another one and another one," Klein said.

She has collected nearly 3,000 nativities from around the world, each one unique.

"The story doesn't change," Klein said. "It's the same in all the countries. But to see how different countries express it, it just blows me away."

Klein's collection continues to grow as friends and family give her new sets. Her husband even built a separate house for the nativities, and that's how Little Bethlehem of Denton County was born.

It's been open for more than a decade, and visitors from all over the world come for a glimpse.

"I see it as an opportunity to share the Gospel, to share God's gift," Klein said.

No matter the style, shape, or material, she said each one is precious in her eyes.

"Some of us are like wooden clothes pins," she said. "Some of us are 24-karat gold. Most are in between, but God loves the wooden clothes pins just as well."

Bethlehem of Denton County is open to visitors in the evenings and on weekends by appointment only.

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