The majestic Philadelphia Museum of Art draws visitors throughout the year with its incredible collections of fine works of art.
Around the holidays, though, the museum decks its halls with festive decorations and hosts jolly programs, making its galleries an enchanting place to bring family and friends throughout the season.
From make-and-take crafts to insightful gallery tours, the museum has plans to host seasonal events fit for a wide range of folks.
Read on for our picks of merry museum events and check online for the full calendar of holiday fun at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this season.
• Make Stuff: Holiday Card-Making Station: Wednesdays, November 27-December 18, 5:30-7:30 p.m. During the holidays, the museums Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesdays offers up the chance to create handmade holiday cards every week.
• The Christmas Story in Art: Select dates from December 1-January 1, noon. Meet in Lenfest Hall to take a guided tour through the museum’s galleries highlighting works of art that tell the story of Christmas. Featured works will be marked with a special “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!” label.
• Art After 5: Fridays, November 29-December 27, 5-8:45 p.m. Every Friday, the museum hosts an after-dark soiree, filling its Great Hall and some galleries with live music, dancing, cocktails and more. The regularly scheduled affair celebrates the holiday season starting on Friday, November 29 with a Parisian-themed fete. In December, look forward to a Balkan dance party with the West Philadelphia Orchestra, a Mexican-themed night and a Christmassy evening on Friday, December 20.
• Caroling Through the Galleries: Saturday, December 14, 1, 2, and 3:30 p.m.. The Pennsylvania Girlchoir will lead museum visitors through the galleries of medieval and Renaissance art, singing traditional European and American carols. Each performance runs for 40 minutes.
• Ugly Sweater Party: Wednesday, December 4, 5-8:45 p.m. Break out the ugly holiday sweaters for a night of sweater-themed good times. Bring a knitting project and join the knitting circle in the Great Stair Hall, or “uglify” a sweater at the ugly sweater station.
• Holiday Film Series: Wednesdays, December 4, 11, 18, 6-8:45 p.m. One of the easiest ways to get into the holiday spirit? Watching a holiday movie. See screenings of Elf (December 4), Love Actually (December 11) and — the eternal classic — A Christmas Story (December 18).
• Holiday Trolley Tours: December 5-8, 12-14, 12:30 and 3:30 p.m., $38. The long-anticipated restorations of the elegant Strawberry Mansion and Cedar Grove are complete, and visitors can see the results during the annual Fairmount Park Holiday Tours. For much of the month of December, visitors can embark on tours of Cedar Grove, Mount Pleasant, Laurel Hill, Lemon Hill, Strawberry Mansion and Woodford Mansion. The trolley tours show off three houses in the morning and three different houses in the afternoon.
• First Person Arts StorySlam: Re-Gifting: Wednesday, December 11, 7-8:30 p.m. Join in the competition and show with First Person Arts’ holiday edition of its monthly storytelling sessions. Come and lend an ear or share an experience on this year’s theme, “Re-Gifting.”
Holidays at the Museum
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
When: November 27-January 1, 2014
Cost: Mostly free with museum admission; $20, adults, $18, seniors, $14, students and youth, free for kids 12 and under
More info: www.philamuseum.org/holidays