Just thirty minutes from the bustle of Philadelphia, Glencairn Museum provides an idyllic and serene setting to appreciate the beauty of the Christmas season. Built in the 1930’s, Glencairn was the family home of Raymond Pitcairn’s family. In 1980, it was converted into a museum where visitors can now see an extensive collection of religious art and enjoy learning about the family who once lived in this beautiful home.
The museum’s “Christmas in the Castle” tour deftly combines these two elements as visitors view art related to the story of Christ’s birth and learn about how the Pitcairn family celebrated Christmas. During the 45 minute tour, our knowledgeable guide showed us the family’s favorite Christmas table decorations, described how the huge table took up much of the great hall, and led us upstairs to see the beautiful master bedroom – complete with Mrs. Pitcairn’s favorite Christmas dress. Along the way our guide also pointed out stained glass windows related to the Christmas story and talked about some of the family’s ornate and beautiful nativity sets. Taking the elevator up to the tower was one of the tour’s highlights! The enclosed tower room was nice and warm, while its glass walls allowed us to have a breathtaking view of the surrounding area. Every wall, ceiling, and window offers something new and interesting to see on this fascinating journey, so we can understand why booking your tour reservation in advance is highly recommended!
In addition to the “Christmas in the Castle” tour, visitors will also enjoy the “World Nativities” exhibition and the “Do You See What I See?” exhibition. The collection of nativities from around the world is stunning in its diversity and detail, with many cultures and styles of art represented. The “Do you See What I See?” display shows examples from around the world of how different people in the Christmas story have been represented through art. The scale and beauty of the museum’s main rooms offer a sense of peace and rest as visitors make their way around the exhibits.
Daily Vacationer Jr says: Visiting the castle with children will be a delightful experience so long as they are old enough to understand some objects must not be touched. Our tour guide made sure to point out objects of interest to the elementary-aged children in our group, and also took the time to discuss what life was like for the children growing up in this home. Riding the elevator up to the tower is sure to be a favorite as well! We even learned that the Pitcairn’s grandchildren used to come over after school and do their homework up in the tower. Young visitors will also delight in completing the Word Nativities seek-and-find challenge, and they will even receive a prize for filling out their papers correctly (don’t worry – a friendly staff member is available to give hints if needed!) Children are sure to enjoy the immense level of detail in the many nativity sets, and if they look under the Christmas tree they’ll even find a few sets they can play with.
"Christmas in the Castle" tours running through Sunday, January 7. Call 267.502.2990 or visit glencairnmuseum.org for dates, times, and reservations. Daily Vacationer highly recommends booking your tour as far in advance as possible.