Holidays at the Museums… It’s All About Tradition

Museums are all about tradition. Enjoy an array of festive programs all while experiencing the beauty of locally created and based art. See how these exhibits capture the holiday spirit while preserving the essence of time. Enjoy the living history art provides, especially during this joyous season.

hagley-museum-christmas-holidayHolidays at Hagley

Eleutherian Mills Holiday Display – The 1803 du Pont family ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills, will feature holiday decorations and interpretation on the French traditions of exchanging gifts on New Year’s Day and the celebration of Twelfth Night. The residence will glow with elaborate decorations that feature dining room displays, heavily decorated Christmas trees, and family-owned objects not displayed at any other time of the year. Dried flowers, greenery, fruits, and other natural materials create a beautiful holiday ambiance accentuated by soft lights and Christmas music. To complement the holiday decorations, period rooms will show how adults and children occupied their time during winter months. Indoor activities included entertaining, sewing, reading, listening to music, drawing pictures, and playing board games. Toys and games to engage children during winter included dolls, games, blocks, puzzles, special child-size furniture, and dishes and a tea party set with dishes and silverware.

Holiday Open HouseHoliday Open House at Rockwood

Bring your family out for refreshments, children’s activities, entertainment, and FREE photos with Santa! The event also includes the Youth Entrepreneur’s Secret Santa Shoppe selling gifts for the whole family, tours of the holiday display in the museum, and a festive light display in the gardens surrounding the Mansion and Carriage House. This special event only runs from December 2-4. The event is free, but we ask that you please bring a canned food item or warm hats, gloves, or scarves to be donated to those in need this holiday season.

This year’s performers include Delaware Arts Conservatory performing excerpts from their production of “The Snow Queen,” Wilmington Children’s Theater performing a preview of their production of “Willy Wonka” and Imagination Players. Other performers include Kathryn Ciminello Dance Troupe,Cab Calloway Middle School choirs, UD Children’s Choir and more.

Longwood Christmas 2015A Longwood Christmas

The sounds of the season resonate throughout our indoor and outdoor Gardens during our musically-inspired display.

A towering 18-foot Fraser Fir exquisitely decorated with a garland of musical instruments takes center stage in our elegant Music Room. Organ sing-alongs, strolling carolers, and performances fill our Gardens with festive cheer. Delight in our holiday horticulture showcasing more than 6,000 seasonal plants.

Outside, the sounds of oohs and aahs fill the air as illuminated stars twinkle above, colorful fountains dance to holiday music, and a half-million lights brighten the night.

Delaware Art Museum

Winter Arts Festival

Join the Delaware Art Museum to celebrate the holiday season with the Winter Arts Festival! This family-friendly weekend event features 20 regional artisans selling their wares and holiday gifts. Local school and community choirs will perform live, festive music as families roam and participate in holiday-themed art projects. Docents will offer tours throughout the two days and the Thronson Cafe will serve refreshments by Toscana to keep you warm and toasty.


Holiday House Tour

Planning for the Museum Council’s 2016 Holiday House Tour: Houses with History is underway! This unique tour features homes that will not be opened for a public tour again for a generation–if ever. Don’t miss the unique opportunity to tour Wilmington’s most spectacular historic homes decorated for the holidays. The Tour will coincide with the Museum’s Annual Winter Arts Festival, which will feature 20 regional artisans and live holiday music.

Christmas-TrainsA Brandywine Christmas

From the spectacular O-gauge model train display with trains running on nearly 2,000 feet of track, to a collection of rare antique dolls dressed in beautiful period clothing, plus thousands of whimsical Critters (ornaments and decorations handcrafted by Brandywine volunteers from natural materials) displayed on towering trees soaring up through the museum’s three-story atrium, A Brandywine Christmas promises delightful family fun. The holiday exhibit runs from November 25 through January 8 at the Brandywine River Museum of Art.

spirit of ChristmasA Spirit of Christmas Celebration

The 16th annual celebration of the Spirit of Christmas is on Saturday December 10 and includes tours of historic homes and gardens decorated for the season. There will also be events at the New Castle Court House and musical performances throughout the town. An all-day sale of handmade crafts, jewelry, notecards, used books, breads and soups will take place at the church, making it easy to gather last-minute Christmas gifts.

old fashioned holidayOld-Fashioned Holiday

Join us this December for a special holiday-themed program at the Marshall Steam Museum. The museum will be decorated and full of holiday cheer, and there will be something for everybody, regardless of age! Last chance to see the museum (at a discount too!) before we close for the winter.

This year’s program will feature:

  • Special Photo Exhibit: Snow Travelers — Experiencing Winter at the Dawn of the Automotive Age including a display of early tire chains.
  • Readings of The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore & The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg; beginning promptly at 1 and 3pm.
  • Victorian and train-inspired holiday crafts and activities for the whole family
  • Electric train demonstrations
  • Hot chocolate
  • And more!

Christmas as RockwoodCandlelight Tours at Rockwood

The Candlelight Tour at Rockwood Museum is a unique opportunity to see the entire museum holiday display by the warm light of the evening. Featuring museum tours, and the holiday light display in the gardens. The tours are on Friday and Saturday nights from December 9-17.

Yuletide at WinterthurYuletide at Winterthur

This year’s Yuletide Tour highlights the holidays through the eyes of children. Kids of all ages will delight in our new 18-room dollhouse mansion charmingly decorated for Christmas and filled with more than 1,000 treasures! The 6-foot-by-3-foot, slate-roofed, fully-electrified dollhouse, inspired by Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, was lovingly assembled by creator Nancy McDaniel over 30 years and recently gifted to Winterthur. In addition to this miniature masterpiece, visitors will also enjoy viewing American Christmas vignettes, from skating and sleigh ride scenes inspired by the work of Currier & Ives to a Mississippi family’s holiday decorations on the eve of the Civil War to the White House in the early 1900s, and much more.

In addition to the Yuletide Tour, you can partake in one of many related programming opportunities including a live performance of A Christmas Carol as well as nighttime events such as Yuletide Jazz & Wine and University of Delaware Chorale performing Carols by Candlelight.

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