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October 5th, 1998
Park House Christmas Tours Celebrate Many Heritages

The Historic Houses of Fairmount Park were built, lived in, maintained and enjoyed by individuals from a wide range of European and Scandinavian regions. To highlight their wonderfully varied histories, the Park House Christmas Tours for 1998 will celebrate "A Christmas Heritage." From the evening of Thursday, December 3, through Wednesday, December 9, Candlelight Evenings and Day Tours will welcome visitors to seven of the Park's elegant mansions, each decorated by area garden clubs to evoke the holiday traditions of the following countries:

  • "Scotland" at Mount Pleasant
  • "Germany" at Lemon Hill
  • "Sweden" at Laurel Hill
  • "The Netherlands" at Woodford
  • "France" at Strawberry Mansion
  • "England" at Cedar Grove
  • "Italy" at Sweetbriar
The Horticulture Center in West Fairmount Park, featuring a poinsettia display and Holiday Gift Shop, will also be open throughout the Park House Christmas Tours. 1998's Park House Christmas Tours are partially sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue, Twinings, Walkers, Cavit, and Smooth Jazz WJJZ. Daytime general admission tickets for the Christmas Tours are $15.00 for adults, $5.00 for children under 12, and can be purchased at Lemon Hill, Mount Pleasant, Strawberry Mansion, Cedar Grove, the Horticulture Center, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. General admission tickets may also be purchased in advance at the Philadelphia Museum of Art or by calling (215) 235-SHOW.

Trolley tours led by a Park House Guide are $20.00 per person; guided group tours that include a box lunch are $30.00 per person. Lunch is available at the Horticultural Center at an additional cost. Call (215) 925-TOUR to schedule a trolley tour.

Dinner and Luncheon Packages are available for groups of 15 or more. Prices vary by restaurant and include the tour and meal. Restaurants participating in Christmas Tour Dining Packages are: Brasserie Perrier, The Garden, Kansas City Prime, Le Bec-Fin, Oberon and Striped Brass. Call (215) 235-SHOW for dates and reservations.

Romantic evening Candlelight Tours, featuring three of the Park Houses decorated and lighted as they were in the 18th- and 19th-centuries, will begin at 5:30, 6:00 and 6:45 p.m. (lasting 2 ½ hours each) on December 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8. Trolleys will depart from the Horticulture Center, and wine and a light supper will be served. Tickets are $35.00 per person. Call (215) 235-SHOW for reservations.

Fairmount Park is the largest municipal park in the United States, and the Fairmount Park Houses are considered to be the most significant group of 18th- and early 19th-century examples of domestic architecture in the United States. The Park House Christmas Tours were inaugurated in 1972 with the assistance of a single garden club. This year's activities will reflect the enthusiastic efforts of 15 clubs and hundreds of volunteers. The proceeds from the Park House Christmas Tours benefit the ongoing preservation and restoration of the seven participating houses.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art and more than 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Its facilities include its landmark Main Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Perelman Building, located nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum on the 2200 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and two 18th-century houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. The Museum offers a wide variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at pressroom@philamuseum.org. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

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