Yuletide at Winterthur

Celebrate the holiday traditions of Henry Francis du Pont and his family at Winterthur


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Season's inspirations and magical moments await at Yuletide at Winterthur, the annual exhibition celebrating the holiday traditions of Henry Francis du Pont and his family at Winterthur. With a special tribute to the 30th anniversary of the beloved Dried Flower Tree, this year more majestic than ever. Immerse yourself in inspiring holiday décor and enchanting displays on three exquisitely decorated floors of the nine-story museum. Enjoy concerts, caroling, jazz, and wine throughout the season with Winterthur's special Yuletide programming. In a nod to Winterthur's major exhibition “A Colorful Folk: Pennsylvania Germans and the Art of Everyday Life,” on view in the galleries through Jan. 3, the Yuletide Tour will begin with displays exploring holiday practices of the Pennsylvania Germans, who introduced Americans to such seasonal standards as the Christmas tree, the charity bazaar, and the tradition of the gift-giver. Among the many highlights will be an unusual 19th-century Christmas tree, a sassafras stripped of its leaves and wrapped in cotton batting to form a snowy backdrop for a display of colorful ornaments. Look for this tree in the room where the early Germanic gift-giver Belsnickle can be seen arriving to surprise children with his rewards for good behavior. Several displays will recall winter festivities of the du Pont family in Delaware, including a New Year’s gathering in the 1890s where the women of the family displayed the gifts they had received from the male relatives who called on them throughout the day, and the extravagant dinner party that celebrated the family’s first 100 years in America, held on New Year’s Day, 1900, with more than 100 family members attending. Also featured will be special traditions of H.F. du Pont and his family at Winterthur in the 20th century, such as celebrations to honor the staff who worked behind the scenes to make holiday visits to Winterthur so exquisite. Such festivities included annual staff parties held at the Clubhouse through the 1950s, at which all estate families received gifts from the du Ponts before a tree glowing with new-fangled “bubble” lights. Also new this year is a tree that celebrates the Winterthur Garden in autumn, inspired by the colors of the season and H.F. du Pont’s boyhood collections of rocks, shells, and other trophies of the natural world that started him on a lifetime of collecting. Prepare to be further dazzled by the new tree sparkling with stained glass, a tribute to the Winterthur major exhibition “Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light,” also on view in the Galleries through Jan. 3. Finally, for those visitors who come back year after year to see Yuletide at Winterthur’s signature creation, the Dried Flower Tree, this magnificent homage to the Winterthur Garden will return to its original venue in the Conservatory for its 30th anniversary, surrounded by a living tribute of flowers and blooming plants that bring the garden to life in the depths of winter. Yuletide at Winterthur is open through Jan. 3, so get there soon. winterthur.org

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