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Holiday Magic at Brandywine

October 31, 2020 to January 31, 2021
Boy with Brandywine Christmas train display
Brandywine Christmas. Photo credit: Jacques-Jean Tiziou

Photo credit: Jacques-Jean Tiziou

Celebrate the wonder of the holiday season at the Brandywine River Museum of Art! Returning this year with exciting new additions and features, the Brandywine Railroad has been a holiday family favorite at the Brandywine since 1972. Slightly modified this year to provide a safe and socially distant experience, the Brandywine Railroad will still feature plenty of trains, miniature details and the engaging elements that everyone loves—including interactive components operated by hands-free foot pedals.

The Brandywine’s famous O-gauge display will feature model trains running on a thousand feet of track through a small village, a drive-in movie theater and even a carnival. This year the Brandywine also welcomes the exciting new additions of two model train sets with layouts once owned by Nicky and Jamie Wyeth—sons of the renowned American artist, Andrew Wyeth.

Nicky Wyeth’s standard gauge train display features historic “tinplate” Lionel trains from the 1920s and 30s traveling around colorful buildings and scenery, including a large bridge modeled after New York’s Hell Gate Bridge. The 8 x 12 foot display was also recently enhanced with modern reproductions of a 1940s monorail. Artist Jamie Wyeth’s N-gauge train display was originally co-owned by Jamie and his friend and fellow toy collector, artist Andy Warhol. Included in the 4 x 6 foot landscape are foothills of a mountain, train tunnels with a bridge crossing a lake, and even a diminutive industrial town with a main street packed with businesses and rowhouses, a steel mill, and a large metal warehouse featuring an oversized reproduction of Wyeth’s own iconic painting, Portrait of Pig.

In addition to the Brandywine Railroad, this year’s holiday offerings include the return of artist and composer Ann Wyeth McCoy’s dollhouse, which features six rooms filled with three-dozen dolls and hundreds of miniature objects that will delight visitors of all ages. The Brandywine’s whimsical Critter ornaments, handcrafted by our volunteers at home this year, will also be back to decorate the towering trees in the Museum’s three-story atrium*, as well as thousands of these unique treasures that will be available for purchase during the annual Holiday Critter Sale—including a few “classics” that can now be purchased online for the first time.

*Please note: The Brandywine Railroad and Ann Wyeth McCoy dollhouse will be on view beginning October 31. The Critters will be on view beginning November 27, 2020.


Support is provided by The Davenport Family Foundation Fund for Exhibitions, Herr Foods Inc., and The Frelinghuysen Foundation