People aboard the Cruiser Olympia

Christmas in the Adriatic Pop-Up Exhibit

As part of our Sea-son of Lights programming, make sure to stop by Cruiser OLYMPIA for a holiday pop-up exhibit, Christmas in the Adriatic, where we explore OLYMPIA's 1920 peacekeeping assignment.

On December 25, 1920, American Forces in the Adriatic region of Europe participated in a Christmas celebration for the benefit of children "blind, crippled, orphaned through war or otherwise" as part of ongoing humanitarian relief in the region. This celebration involved 1,700 service personnel and 4,000 children from Italy to Dalmatia (now modern-day Croatia).

OLYMPIA, stationed in Venice, Italy, welcomed approximately 700 children aboard Christmas day. These children were presented with gifts containing chocolate, toys, fruits and nuts, and a holiday card expressing good wishes from America. An additional 300-400 gifts were sent to children ashore who could not board OLYMPIA either because they were too young or too sick.

The children were then given a tour of OLYMPIA, where they judged different sections of holiday decorations put up by Olympia's sailors. First, second and third-place winners were given prizes of $30, $25, and $20, respectively.