CHADDS FORD, PA.- During the 2004 holiday season, the Brandywine River Museum continues a famous tradition as A Brandywine Christmas returns November 26 through January 9 with delightful sights and sounds of the holidays. Family favorites on display include the museum’s extensive model train layout, a Victorian dollhouse, Ann Wyeth McCoy’s antique doll display and “critter” ornaments made by the museum’s volunteers.
This year, A Brandywine Christmas is complemented by the special exhibition, Story Time: Children’s Book Illustrations. From Thomas Nast’s early drawings of Santa Claus for “Christmas Drawings for the Human Race” in 1890 to Charles Santore’s interpretations of Beatrix Potter’s “The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit” in 1986, this exhibition features over 40 excellent and delightful works from the museum’s important and growing collection of children’s book illustrations.
The young and the young at heart can enjoy the large Victorian dollhouse. A century old, Sarah Scaife’s dollhouse hosts all the amenities of a real home: wallpaper, tiny rugs, miniature food, a nursery full of toys, and even its own copy of The New York Times. The dollhouse shines with small electric lights and holiday decorations.
Visitors can once again view a remarkable display of beautiful antique dolls titled Christmas with the Dolls by Ann Wyeth McCoy. The display includes more than 50 dolls from Mrs. McCoy’s collection in life-like, holiday-inspired scenes.
As in years past, the museum’s well-known and expansive O-gauge model railroad features non-stop action on over 2,000 feet of track. Five moving trains operate at all times and include a seemingly endless 60-car freight train winding past a village, stone quarry, oil refinery, mountains, Herr Foods plant, running waterfall and animated skating scene. A miniature Santa and his sleigh fly over the railroad.
New to the train layout this year is a model of the first streamlined diesel-powered passenger locomotive, the 1934 Burlington Line Pioneer Zephyr. The Zephyr is accompanied by Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends, Clarabel and Annie. A companion exhibition features model trains and train posters from over 15 countries and includes information about the country of origin and manufacturer of each train.
The legendary critter ornaments return to decorate holiday trees and diorama settings throughout the museum. These cleverly designed Christmas ornaments made from all-natural materials by museum volunteers have filled trees at the White House and the Smithsonian Institution.