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Chester County Press

Greeting the holidays at the Brandywine

11/18/2019 10:52AM ● By J. Chambless

Handmade ornaments like this kayaker are for sale from Dec. 5 to 8 as part of ‘A Brandywine Christmas.’

The magic of the holiday season returns to the Brandywine River Museum of Art during “A Brandywine Christmas” from Nov. 29 to Jan. 5.

This holiday experience for all ages includes a gallery filled with a landscaped model train display; a special exhibition featuring a selection of three beloved fairy tales and their evolution through time and different cultures; towering trees decorated with whimsical Critter ornaments; and a wide selection of holiday events and programs for the whole family. 

Cinderella & Co.: Three Fairy Tales Reimagined

On view through Jan. 5

“Cinderella & Co.: Three Fairy Tales Reimagined” explores the enduring stories of Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears, presenting a wide array of illustrations created through time and across cultures. The exhibition includes more than 100 drawings from books illustrated by 35 artists, revealing both cultural and stylistic diversity.

Brandywine Railroad

On view Nov. 29 to Jan. 5

The model train display, a holiday family favorite since 1972, offers 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 a carnival.

Annual Holiday Critter Sale

Dec. 5, 4:30 to 8 p.m.; Dec. 6 through 8, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Critters are delightful, distinctive ornaments and tabletop decorations that are handmade locally using natural materials. Prices range from $5 to $35, with specialty items from $50 to $250. Remaining critters will be on sale in the Museum gift shop beginning Dec. 9, while supplies last.

Special holiday events and activities throughout the season include:

The Polar Express Read-Aloud Pajama Night (Thursday, Dec. 5, 7 to 8 p.m.): Children are invited to wear their pajamas as they delight in the tale of The Polar Express and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and families are welcome to view the trains, trees and critter ornaments until the start of the program at 7 p.m. $10 members; $15 non-members.

Breakfast with the Trains (Saturdays, Dec. 7 and 14, 8:30 to 10 a.m.): A behind-the-scenes visit with the Brandywine Railroad to 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 the younger train fans, and a continental breakfast in the Museum’s Millstone Café. $20 members; $25 non-members.

Stroller Tours (Tuesday, Dec. 10, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.): Enjoy a relaxed morning out with your little one while engaging with art in the galleries. This guided tour is designed for adults accompanied by babies. Free with museum admission.

Children’s Christmas Party (Wednesday, Dec. 11, 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. Members: $12 adults, free for children. Non-members: $15 adults, $5 children (3-11), free for children under 3.

Piano Performance by Jennifer Nicole Campbell (Wednesday, Dec. 18, 1 to 2 p.m.): Award-winning pianist and composer Jennifer Nicole Campbell will perform a variety of classical and holiday songs in the museum atrium for visitors. Free with museum admission.

Sensory-Friendly Train Morning (Saturday, Jan. 4, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.): Individuals on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing disorder and their families are invited to get early access to the Brandywine Railroad. Created in conjunction with local families and occupational therapists, this inclusive and accessible program strives to provide a welcoming experience through offering: pre-visit social stories; reduced crowding and noise; a sensory break area; on-hand support of skilled and friendly volunteers which include occupational therapy graduate students and faculty; and fidgets and noise-cancelling headphones to borrow. This program welcomes participants of all ages and their families (siblings welcome). For more information or to register, contact Laura Westmoreland at [email protected] or 610-388-8120. Free with advance registration.

The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 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 over, $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