The first and only museum in the whole world with an extensive collection under the heading of the divine child. Since 19. November 2005 a new jewel can be discovered in Gardone Riviera – the museum of Hiky Mayr, an art collector of German origin, who for over 35 years has been dedicating her life to the search, collection and restoration of sculptures representing Baby Jesus. „
This passion of starting a collection has started rather accidentally,“ Mayr tells us. „One day I went round to an antique dealer as I was searching for metal pots which I wanted as decoration for our family run hotel "Il Grand Hotel Fasano“.
All of a sudden between the pots I saw two naked legs made of wood and asked the dealer whose these legs were. The dealer answered me: “They belong to Baby Jesus.” The sight of the small baby child was heart-rending – it was in an absolutely dreadful state, completely dirty and full of grazes. Moreover, all fingers and toes were missing. I personally restored this figure and nowadays it is one of the gems of the collection in my museum”. To have a clearer idea of the collection here a few figures: The collection comprises over 250 sculptures dating from four different centuries. With the help of the exhibits it documents the techniques and materials as well as the use and iconography of the sculptures, which mostly represent Baby Jesus and, in some rare cases, the female form of Mary’s child.
The size of the figures is between 60 and 90 centimetres. In the museum we can admire all different types of Baby Jesus sculptures: put in nappies, naked, or as a small king dressed in beautiful robes and adorned with rich ornaments. Apart from the sculptures just described the museum also houses a historical Neapolitan crib with over 130 figures and a whole lot of animals.
The museum is located at a distance of only 500 meters from the "Vittoriale“, therefore it is easily possible to combine two very different and highly interesting visits to two museums. Mayr’s museum is equipped with every possible service and has got wheel-chair access.
It has been included in a list of official museums tours published by the province of Brescia.