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Chester County Press

Holiday magic returns to the Brandywine

11/15/2018 01:10PM ● By J. Chambless

Trees throughout the museum have been decorated for the season.

The magic of the holiday season returns to the Brandywine River Museum of Art during “Brandywine Christmas,” from Nov. 23 to Jan. 6.

The holiday experience for all ages includes a gallery filled with a landscaped model train display, an exhibition of illustrations from three seasonal children’s books, trees decorated with whimsical “Critter” ornaments, and a wide selection of holiday events and programs.

Holidays & Snowdays: Illustrations for Three Children’s Books

Through Jan. 6

Caldecott medalist Beth Krommes shows the beauty of an unexpected snow storm with her illustrations for Before Morning, written by Joyce Sidman. James Ransome, winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, sets a traditional holiday story in the jazz-inspired Harlem of the 1920s with his illustrations for The Nutcracker in Harlem, written by T.E. McMorrow. And Matthew Trueman depicts an unlikely twosome to illustrate the spirit of Hanukkah with his illustrations for Simon and the Bear, a Hanukkah Tale, written by Eric A. Kimmel.

Brandywine Railroad

Nov. 23 to Jan. 6

The huge train display, a holiday family favorite since 1972, offers a dazzling array of both toy and scale model trains made by Lionel, Williams, Atlas, Mike’s Train House, K-line and others. The Brandywine Railroad features trains running on 2,000 feet of track and includes more than 1,000 pieces, including locomotives, passenger and freight trains, and trolleys that pass through a small town, a farm, factories and even a carnival.

Critter” ornaments

“Critters” are ornaments and tabletop decorations that are handmade, using natural materials. Each one has its own unique personality and expression – no two are exactly the same. From whimsical animals-- like cats, dogs, reindeer and bears – to angels and stars, “Critters” come in all shapes and sizes. Using their imaginations, volunteers work with natural materials such as pine cones, acorns, egg shells, flowers and seed pods to give each “Critter” its own expression. Proceeds benefit the Volunteers’ Art Purchase Fund, and Art Education & Programming. The annual sale starts on Nov.29 and ends on Dec. 2. “Critters” will also be available for sale in the museum gift shop from Dec. 2 through Jan. 6, while supplies last.

Special holiday events and activities throughout the season include:

Holiday Critter Sale

Prices will range from $5 to $35, with specialty items from $50 to $250. A Member Preview will b held Nov. 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Public hours are Nov. 29, 5 to 9 p.m.; Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Carols Concerts

Sundays in December (2, 9, 16, 23, 30), 1 to 3 p.m.

Listen to international opera singer Peter Campbell, accompanied by pianist Matthew Jewell. Free with museum admission.

Children’s Christmas Party

Dec. 5, 6 to 8 p.m.

Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy entertainment, costumed characters, face painting, model trains, trees adorned with hundreds of “Critter” ornaments, and Cookie Land.

Breakfast with the Trains

Saturdays, Dec. 8 and 15, 8:30 to 10 a.m.

Join a behind-the-scenes visit with the Brandywine Railroad. Discover how the extensive layout is created and the complicated multitasking it takes to keep everything running. This before-hours event includes a private tour of the trains in action with Brandywine Railroad engineers, special activities for younger train fans, and a continental breakfast in the Millstone Café.

Sounds of the Season Concerts

Weekdays and some weekends in December

Choral concerts by local schools and community groups (check for details). Free with museum admission.

Sensory-Friendly Train Morning

Saturday, Jan. 5, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Early access to the Brandywine Railroad for children with autism or sensory-processing disorders.

Stroller Tour

Second Tuesday of every month beginning Jan. 8, 10:30 a.m.

Gallery tour for adults accompanied by babies. Free with museum admission.

Children's Read-Aloud Tours

Jan. 17, 24 and 31, 10:30 a.m.

Children and their grown-ups will hear a story, interact with art in the museum and make their own creative work to take home.

The Brandywine River Museum of Art is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day), and is on Route 1 in Chadds Ford. Admission is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors ages 65 and older, $6 for students and children ages 6 and up; free for children 5 and younger and Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art members. For more information, call 610-388-2700 or visit