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October 28th, 2011
Holidays at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Enjoy the Galleries: Shop and Stroll; Dine and Dance; Listen and Learn
(November 23, 2011–January 1, 2012)

Philadelphia, PA (October 2011) — This season, the Philadelphia Museum of Art becomes one of the city’s premier holiday destinations. From glimpses of the Dutch Golden Age to drawing lessons in the Great Stair Hall Balcony; from the New Year’s Eve Pre-Party to Holiday Luncheon Packages at the Fairmont Park Houses; from the Winter Wonderland Family Event to Art After 5’s oldies-themed Mistletoe Hop, there’s something for everyone at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Beginning on November 28, the season’s programs and festivities will be highlighted by holiday décor, including sparkling lights and ornamented evergreens in the Great Stair Hall.

“Just as museums can be places of contemplation and reflection, they can also be places for enjoyable social experiences, especially during the holidays,” says Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer. “Visitors can share the art they love with the people they love, and the creativity they encounter here will include performances, family-friendly events, and demonstrations of the culinary arts. This season, in preparing the Museum for the holidays, we are especially grateful for our collaboration with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which has lent its green thumb to help us dress up the Great Stair Hall and strike a wonderfully festive note.”

Between the closing of the acclaimed Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus on October 30 and the opening of the much-anticipated Van Gogh: Up Close on February 1, during the holidays the Museum will continue to highlight the remarkable art of Holland with Dutch Treat: A Glimpse of Holland’s Golden Age (November 23, 2011–January 1, 2012). This jewel of an exhibition in the Dorrance Galleries will offer visitors the opportunity to experience the work of Rembrandt’s first and most influential pupil, Gerrit Dou (1613–1675), one of the most accom­plished painters of the age. Although he only produced a few works each year, Dou was considered the very paragon of art and became a favorite of such notables as the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III de’ Medici, Queen Christina of Sweden, and King Charles II of England. When a contemporary praised Dou for painting a broomstick the size of a fingernail, the artist famously responded that it still needed three days’ work. In an age before photography, his oil paintings were much admired for their minute detail and were so highly valued by collectors that they often sold for the price of a comfortable home. Dou’s paintings offer an intimate look at everyday life during a time of great prosperity and peace in the Netherlands.  They will be shown alongside other works produced in Holland at that time: delicate glass goblets; stained glass depicting images of tall ships, skaters, and finches; and painted tiles with tulips. Ten works by Dou will be displayed in the exhibition, complemented by related highlights from the Museum’s collections, including paintings, decorative arts, and furniture from one of the most celebrated periods in Dutch art.

Friday evenings touch off the season with Holiday Klezmer (December 9) celebrating the Festival of Lights with jazz- and Latin-infused klezmer, Yiddish songs, and Israeli dances. Mistletoe Hop (December 16) riffs on the 1950s and 1960s with Matthew Piazzi and the Debonairs showcasing classic holiday doo-wop, rock ‘n’ roll, and soul. Escape to Toyland (December 23) rings in the holidays Jazz-Age style with Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society as they play the best holiday tunes of the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s. Dolls spring to life in “toyland” with performances by the tap-dancing Minsky Sisters and Cassandra Rosebeetle of the theater dance troupe Desert Sin. Wear the swankiest duds, enjoy celebratory cocktails, and move to the music of a high-energy band at the New Year’s Eve Pre-Party (December 30). STARR Events will prepare seasonal bites both savory and sweet, along with such specialty beverages as hot toddies and fig & date mulled wine.  All Art After 5 events run 5:45–8:45 pm.

The Education Department will offer a range of programs for adults and kids this season, highlighted by musical specials and family-friendly activities. Events kick off every Sunday in December and holiday week (December 26–January 1) with 12:00 pm guided tours of The Christmas Story in Art through the Museum’s collections. Stories continue with the community-based First Person Arts Story Slam: Stories of Gifts, in which the audience is invited to share tales of gifts given, received, or wished for. Among the family offerings is the Winter Wonderland Family Event, including Puppetkabob’s performance of The Snowflake Man (seating limited; tickets free after admission, available at any Visitor Services Desk), a winter-themed Gallery Quest, and the Make-and-Take Workshop, all on Sunday, December 11, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Learn to draw timeless fruit at Dutch Apple Treat: Still-Life Drawing and take your art to the Balcony Café to receive a special edible Dutch treat! Offered from December 26–January 1, 1:00–5:00 pm in the Great Stair Hall Balcony, this program is organized in conjunction with the Dutch Treat exhibition in the Dorrance Galleries.

The Museum will offer daytime performances starting with the Pennsylvania Girlchoir singing European and American carols in the galleries on Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11, at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 pm. Each performance is forty minutes. Join in for a few songs or stay for the whole journey. Every day during holiday week, enjoy 2:00 pm performances in the Great Stair Hall, which include the Germantown Friends School Choir, Settlement Music School, St. Thomas Gospel Choir of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, the West Philadelphia Orchestra, the Haddonfield Memorial High School Madrigal Singers, the Keystone State Boychoir, and more.

Experience all the charm of historic Philadelphia with holiday tours at the Fairmount Park Houses, where Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove will also be decked out in festive décor. Mount Pleasant will showcase a nineteenth-century presepio (Italian nativity and marketplace scene) on loan from the Fleisher Art Memorial, while both houses will feature vintage toys and children’s decorations, in addition to other festive adornments. Admission is $5 per person per house, free for children aged 12 and under. No reservations needed. Group tours (for 15+ people) are $8 per person per house, with Holiday Luncheon and Festive Tea packages available, which include a choice of two Fairmont Park Houses and culminate in elegant refreshments by Stephen STARR Events back at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Visit one or all of these Fairmount Park Houses from December 1–11: Cedar Grove, Laurel Hill, Lemon Hill, Mount Pleasant, and Woodford. Cedar Grove, Mount Pleasant, and Woodford will be open for tours through December 31. For more information, write or call 215-684-7390 for general sales or write to for group sales.

Drawing inspiration from the Dutch Treat exhibition, the Balcony Café will be serving festive culinary offerings Friday through Sunday. Nosh on potato pancakes and kugel, satisfy your sweet tooth with classic gingerbread cookies and truffles, or sip on spiced cider or peppermint hot cocoa as you take a break from your holiday shopping.

“The Museum is a place in which you can enjoy a total experience that heightens the senses,” says Gail Harrity, President and Chief Operating Officer. “After you feast your eyes in the galleries, you can whet your palette at the Granite Hill restaurant, and in the weeks ahead you’ll also discover thoughtful gifts for every holiday need in the Museum Store.

“With the holidays in mind, the Museum is also producing a beautifully packaged gift ticket to the upcoming Van Gogh: Up Close exhibition. Decorated in the flora of van Gogh’s masterpiece, Almond Blossom, it will be available when tickets go on sale on December 1, 2011 (or November 17 for members).”

Among its wide range of surprising, amusing, and adventurous gifts, the Museum Store is stocking special Dutch treats to take home for the holidays, including iconic tulip-shaped Alessi teacups and saucers, tiles hand-painted in Holland, and nostalgic Delft-inspired vintage kissing figures and quaint rowhouses. Van Gogh puzzles and watercolor sets are among the whimsical and inspired gifts for children. The store will also carry such European holiday goodies as De Rutijer chocolate sprinkles, Wilhemina peppermints, and Dutch licorice for seasonal entertaining. Revisit Rembrandt’s moving depictions of Christ through the exhibition catalogue, Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus (August 3–October 30, 2011), a beautiful coffee-table presence for years to come.

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We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

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 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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