Yuletide At Winterthur Features Four Decades Of Favorites

The 40th Year Of The Region’s Premier Holiday Tradition Dazzles With The Displays Visitors Love

November 29, 2019

One of the Brandywine Valley’s most beloved holiday traditions, Yuletide at Winterthur celebrates 40 years with the very best of displays from across the decades as chosen by Winterthur visitors. Delight in the holiday traditions of the du Pont family, find inspiration for decorating homes, and marvel at 17 stunning Christmas trees at Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library, on view now through Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020.
From the history of the holidays to the beauty of the breathtaking dried-flower tree to the magical dollhouse mansion, as well as opportunities to shop, dine, and experience special programs and events, Yuletide at Winterthur is a festive celebration not to be missed.
“Holidays are about memories, so this special anniversary Yuletide Tour is a walk down memory lane,” says Debbie Harper, senior curator of education and coordinator of the Yuletide Tour. “Last year we surveyed 1,850 guests about their favorite rooms and displays, so visitors will see those, plus a record number of Christmas trees.”
The festivities begin with shopping. In a spectacular display first seen in 1996, the Court will be transformed into an 1860s market square. In the rooms upstairs, visitors will see how the greens, gifts, and delicacies bought there were used to create unforgettable holiday displays. Special collections will include an array of antique gift-giver figures and a cupboard filled with vintage candy containers.
The stunning assembly of trees includes cookie-laden evergreens from Pennsylvania German communities in the 1810s and imported German feather trees of the late 1800s to the cotton-wrapped sassafras trees of the early 20th century and gleaming aluminum trees of the mid-20th century. Winterthur Museum founder Henry Francis du Pont’s own trees also will be seen, including the 1890s tree of his boyhood decorated with candy-filled cornucopia set among flickering candles and his 1930s tree embellished with glass balls, tinsel, and the still-new strings of colored electric lights.
Winterthur’s signature dried-flower tree, first seen in 1985, will hold pride of place in the Conservatory. Other uniquely designed trees celebrating the March Bank and Peony Garden will remind everyone of the delights that await visitors every spring and summer in the Winterthur Garden.
In a nod to the popular “Costuming The Crown” exhibition, which features 40 costumes from the Emmy award-winning Netflix series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, several Yuletide displays will look at royal influence on American winter celebrations, including the popularization of the Christmas tree by Queen Victoria in the 1850s. Of course, guests will also see the traditions of American royalty, the du Pont family, reflected in several displays.
Special holiday programs throughout the season include the weekly Yuletide Jazz and Wine series, which features favorite holiday music ensembles on Wednesday evenings in December; live one-man performances of “A Christmas Carol” featuring Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens; and the popular Yuletide Brunch with Santa. Check www.winterthur.org/yuletide for a list of these and other events to make the season special.
Winterthur, known worldwide for its preeminent collection of American decorative arts, naturalistic gardens, and research library for the study of American art and material culture, offers a variety of tours, exhibitions, programs, and activities throughout the year. Please note that the Yuletide Tour replaces the Introductory Tour and is included with general admission. Admission is $22 for adults; $20 for students and seniors; $6 for ages 2 to 11. Hours are Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day). Non-holiday general admission pricing is $20 for adults; $18 for students and seniors; $6 for ages 2 to 11, and includes an Introductory Tour of some of the most notable spaces in the 175-room house as well as access to the Winterthur Garden and Galleries, special exhibitions, a narrated tram tour (weather permitting), the Campbell Collection of Soup Tureens, and the Enchanted Woods children’s garden. Memberships are available for free and discounted admission.
Winterthur is located at 5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, Del.


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