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A Brandywine Christmas at the Brandywine River Museum

By AML Publisher
Photos by Brittany Ostrov Photography

The Museum’s famous critter ornaments may be purchased in the Museum Shop. Proceeds from the sale benefit the Volunteers' Art Purchase Fund, which has added more than 200 paintings, drawings and prints to the Museum's holdings since 1975.

The Museum’s famous critter ornaments may be purchased in the Museum Shop. Proceeds from the sale benefit the Volunteers' Art Purchase Fund, which has added more than 200 paintings, drawings and prints to the Museum's holdings since 1975.

Fanciful illustrations for a children’s book, a spectacular model train display, and adorable “critter” ornaments will transform the Brandywine River Museum into a holiday treat during A Brandywine Christmas, November 26, 2010 through January 9, 2011.

The special exhibition, The Imaginary Beasts of Royal Lacey Scoville, presents 38 fanciful watercolors that form an original narrative written and illustrated by Royal Lacey Scoville for his daughter Eleanore. Based on the style of Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, and Peter Newell, Scoville tells the story of the lazy Tom Tompkins and the wizard, Tumblebug, who casts a spell on Tom. Tompkins, startled from an afternoon nap, stares in horror at the gigantic snake with a multicolored head and gaping mouth. Tom, under the spell cast by the wizard, cannot escape the snake’s coils and joins the 35 other imaginary creatures ensnared by the snake.

Thousands of adorable “critters,” created from natural materials by Conservancy volunteers are on view throughout the Museum. In honor of the 80th Radnor Hunt Races earlier this year, the critters are off to the races too! A new themed tree this holiday season, “Tally Ho,” features horses with jockeys, jumping horses, rearing horses, carriages, hounds and foxes are just some of the ornaments created in celebration of the sport of horse racing.

The annual O-gauge train display, which fills an entire gallery, has two new features this year. Thanks to a generous and anonymous donation, the famous “Polar Express” will travel on the track. The second new feature is a BMW dealership, which joins a village, stone quarry, oil refinery, mountains, Herr Foods plant and running waterfall, as Santa and his sleigh fly overhead. In addition, the youngest visitors will enjoy seeing a new friend of Thomas the Tank Engine. For the first time, Diesel, based on a 0-6-6 diesel British rail shunting engine, will pull trains along the track.

Visitors can enjoy an enchanting antique Victorian dollhouse (circa 1905)--a masterpiece of intricate detail and incredible craftsmanship. Most of the furniture and accessories are original to the house.

Visitors can enjoy an enchanting antique Victorian dollhouse (circa 1905)--a masterpiece of intricate detail and incredible craftsmanship. Most of the furniture and accessories are original to the house.

An enchanting antique Victorian dollhouse (circa 1905) is a masterpiece of intricate detail and incredible craftsmanship. The eleven-room house is true to Victorian decor-cluttered rooms filled with overstuffed furniture, wax flowers, gilt mirrors, fringed cushions and knickknacks—all made to scale. Most of the furniture and accessories are original to the house, as are all but one of the bisque dolls who inhabit it. The dollhouse belonged to Sarah Scaife and is shown through the courtesy of Richard M. Scaife.

Golden Impressions of Andrew Wyeth by Donald Pywell returns this year featuring exquisitely-crafted jewelry inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s paintings. Goldsmith Pywell collaborated with Wyeth on the initial design for each piece of jewelry, and architectural designer T. Mark Cole created the settings for them.

In addition, local school choirs will provide holiday music on selected days. A Brandywine Christmas is supported by Otto’s BMW, The Snelling Group at Merrill Lynch, Herr Foods Inc, and The Frelinghuysen Foundation.

The Brandywine River Museum is located on U.S. Route 1 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The Museum is open daily, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except Christmas Day, and with extended hours until 6:00 p.m. December 26 through 30. Admission is $10 for adults; $6 for seniors ages 65 and over, students, and children over six; free for children under six and members. Due to the large number of visitors during the busy holiday season, the Museum regrets that it cannot accommodate baby strollers. For more information, call 610-388-2700 or visit the Museum”s website at www.brandywinemuseum.org.

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