BRYN ATHYN — Glencairn Museum presents “A Glencairn Christmas” as a gift to the community, expressing all the beauty, magic and pageantry of the Museum’s annual holiday events in the castle — but safely, both virtually and in person.
“We are excited to share the joy of Christmas with our visitors as they safely immerse themselves in the beauty and majesty of Glencairn’s Great and Upper Halls decorated for the holidays,” says Brian Henderson, Glencairn’s director. “While many of our regular Christmas offerings will be presented digitally this Christmas, we hope that they can be enjoyed not only by those who have made Glencairn a part of their annual family holiday traditions, but by those who may live too far to be able to visit in person.”
Two in-person events will welcome visitors to Glencairn over the holidays: a self-guided tour of the castle’s first floor, decorated for Christmas much as the Pitcairn family might have in the first half of the last century, and a Bryn Athyn Historic District offering across three evenings in mid-December.
The staff is enthusiastic about Glencairn’s other events, some new and some reimagined, that have been developed for virtual viewing and participation through the Museum’s website and social media channels. Free of charge and with no registration needed, the new formats make Glencairn’s holiday program available to a wider audience than ever before possible.
World Nativities: An Online Advent Calendar, Tuesday, December 1, through Sunday, January 10. A new Nativity available at 10 a.m. daily, 12/1 – 12/25. No charge, no registration, view at GlencairnMuseum.comFor this 12th year, Ed and Kirsten Gyllenhaal, Glencairn’s dedicated husband-and-wife curatorial team, has put together an inspiring World Nativities online exhibition that’s presented in the form of an Advent Calendar. Each day from December 1 through Christmas Day, a “door” opens on Glencairn’s website to reveal a new Nativity chosen from the Museum’s own collection of 250 such depictions. These Nativities were crafted by artists from all around the globe who have used their unique cultural and spiritual viewpoints to bring the Christmas story to life. You can revisit and enjoy any of the 25 images whenever and as often as you wish, but only through January 10.
“Discover Christmas at Glencairn” Self-Guided Tour: November 27 through January 10 (closed 12/24, 12/25 & 1/1). 60-minute tour slots daily at 12:30, 1:45 and 3 p.m. Social distancing guidelines strictly followed; groups limited to 30; masks are required. Registration required by 10 am day of tour. Suggested donation $5pp payable at registration. This is the only event in 2020 that gives visitors a live, in-person experience inside Glencairn at the holidays. Young people and families can also try out this year’s Nativity Seek and Find, available through the webapp, and choose an individually wrapped prize at the end. Understandably, the Museum has gone to great lengths to keep visitors and staff safe during these in-person visits. In following CDC guidelines, it requires facemasks, limits groups to 30 people, advises careful social distancing and requires reservations no later than 10am the day of the visit. No walk-ins permitted. Expect temperature checks, sanitizing stations and restroom sanitizing between tour sessions. Tours are offered as 60-minute time slots with 15-minute buffers at 12:30, 1:45 and 3:00 every day from the day after Thanksgiving on Friday, November 27, through Sunday, January 10, except when the Museum closes for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Suggested donation of $5 per person can be paid with registration through the website.
‘Christmas in the Castle’ Online Holiday Tour: Beginning Friday, November 27. No charge, no registration, view at GlencairnMuseum.org A new video invites viewers to journey back in time, to explore Pitcairn holiday traditions in the family’s remarkable 20th-century castle. Through archival images and new photography, you’ll experience the large three-part Winfred S. Hyatt Nativity scene, the decorated tree in the Great Hall that reached above the second-floor balcony, the dining table set for the Christmas feast and many examples of Nativity art and traditional décor with which the family celebrated this festive holiday. The video concludes with a telling of the Christmas story illustrated by Nativity art, Medieval to modern, from the museum’s collections. Enjoy this video from Glencairn’s website through January 10 and as often as you wish after that on the Glencairn YouTube channel.
Christmas Sing Concert: Members Premiere: December 15, 7:30pm Public: December 16, 7:30pm Access via social media channels & GlencairnMuseum.org No charge; no registration for unlimited public viewing after December 15. Glencairn is especially pleased to be able to offer this beloved annual holiday concert as a special online program available to all. This unique and professionally created concert video features the “Glencairn Horns,” other instruments and vocal soloists, readings of the Christmas story and musicians performing music familiar to generations of audiences. Making the program especially festive are added visuals including historic photographs of family Christmas celebrations, crèche sets from the Museum’s collection and more. Glencairn offers a Members-only premiere of the video on Tuesday, December 15, at 7:30 pm—when the concert would have been held in other circumstances via a private YouTube invitation. A public YouTube URL on the website and social media offers free access to the concert starting at 7:30 pm the next evening.
Homeschool Days: Glencairn Christmas at Home. Available December 1 – January 1. Access at GlencairnMuseum.org The popular annual Christmas Homeschool Day Open House is going digital, opening the experience so even more young people and families can participate than ever before. All December, at any time, use the website’s Christmas Homeschool link to “be there” in the Great and Upper halls, dive into Glencairn’s multi-sensory Christmas Nativity Explorer’s Notebook, make a Christmas craft, and more.
Landmarks in Lights for the Holidays: Thursday, Friday & Saturday, Dec. 17 – 19 5pm – 9pm. Advance purchase Parking Pass required. $20/car or personal passenger van; $50/minibus (maximum capacity 15) Vehicles seating more than 15 are prohibited. Enjoy an outdoor evening stroll on the grounds of the Bryn Athyn Historic District and see Bryn Athyn Cathedral, Glencairn Museum, and Cairnwood Estate adorned for the holidays and lit with hundreds of lights. Look for Cairnwood and Glencairn window displays and the Cathedral’s stained-glass windows lit from inside. The Cathedral Cloister Garden features a new three-panel painting of the Christmas story by local artist Nancy Schnarr.
Hot drinks available for purchase at Cairnwood Estate, which is also opening its restrooms in the Garden House. Parking Pass must be purchased on Glencairn’s website.
Trucks, vans and buses seating more than 15 are prohibited; visitor drop-off and pick-up not available without a paid Parking Pass. BAHD requests all visitors adhere to social distancing between household groups and participate only if you are free of any COVID-19 symptoms. Face coverings must be worn at all times on the grounds of the Bryn Athyn Historic District.
To check the status of any of this season’s programs or to see more details, please visit GlencairnMuseum.org.