Brandywine River Museum of Art opens model train exhibit to public for holiday season – Daily Local

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CHADDS FORD — Holiday cheer has arrived at the Brandywine River Museum of Art.

Halloween marks the opening of the Brandywine Railroad, a longstanding tradition established at the historic museum for decades. The museum is located on Route 1 in Delaware County, just north of Longwood Gardens in Chester County.

“The train exhibit began in 1972, the year after the museum opened to the public, and it has grown and evolved steadily over the past 48 years,” said Andrew Stewart, director of marketing and communications for the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art.

This year, the theme for the model railroad exhibits is titled “Holiday Magic at Brandywine.” The special showcase will remain visible to the public until January 10.

The museum, home to an extensive collection of American art housed in a 19th-century mill, has slightly altered its traditional railroad showcase experience this holiday season to ensure a safe and socially distanced experience for everyone. New procedures to combat COVID-19 include face mask requirements, timed ticketing and capacity limits.

The Brandywine River Museum of Art recommends advance reservations and all guests are required to reserve timed tickets prior to visiting in the wake of the ongoing 2020 pandemic.

“The safety and comfort of our visitors is always our top priority and to ensure a safe and socially distanced visit during the holiday period, we are asking everyone to purchase their tickets prior to their visit to Brandywine,” Steward said.

The Brandywine Railroad exhibit features historic model trains, twenty or so miniature details and eye-catching elements.

This includes interactive components operated by hands-free foot pedals, Paul Hoerner said. He is the model train specialist for the Brandywine River Museum of Art.

He said the Brandywine Railroad’s iconic O-gauge display features trains traveling along a thousand feet of track through a small village, a drive-in movie theater and a bustling carnival scene.

“Kids love interacting with our screen, and this year we removed the push buttons and replaced them with foot switches for safety,” Hoerner said. “Various foot switches in the displays operate trains and streetcars, turn on car headlights, fly a witch and a ghost, light up the moon, play holiday music, and have a carnival ride.”

Unique additions

This year, the Brandywine presents two sets of model trains with layouts once belonging to Nicky Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth – sons of Andrew Wyeth, the famous American artist.

“For those familiar with our normal train display, they will notice significant changes this year,” Hoerner said. “Not only have we moved the large screen setup that normally dominates the entire gallery, but we’ve added two new train screens courtesy of Nick and Jamie Wyeth who both donated their personal train screens to the Museum.”

Nicky Wyeth’s Standard Gauge Train Exhibit features historic ‘tinplate’ Lionel trains from the 1920s and 30s traveling around colorful buildings and landscapes, including a large bridge inspired by New York’s Hell Gate Bridge, according to Hoerner. The eight-by-one-foot display was recently upgraded with modern reproductions of a 1940s monorail.

The N Gauge Train exhibit by artist Jamie Wyeth was originally owned by Wyeth and his friend and fellow toy collector, artist Andy Warhol. The four-by-six-foot landscape includes the foothills of a mountain, railroad tunnels with a bridge across a lake, and even a small industrial town with a main street filled with businesses and townhouses, a steel mill, and a large metal warehouse, says Hoerner. The Warehouse features an oversized reproduction of Wyeth’s famous painting, Portrait of Pig.

“We’ve moved the carnival closer to the front and as usual there’s a lot of detail in the landscape like a miniature, NC Wyeth painting outside with his easel, a cameo of Olaf from ‘Frozen’ and ‘Despicable Me’ minions causing havoc like minions do,” Hoerner said.

whimsical creatures

The Brandywine Museum of Art is hosting its annual Holiday Critter Sale from December 2-6. Whimsical Critter ornaments will be available for in-person purchases.

Safety precautions, including face mask requirements and capacity limits, will remain in place for all in-person purchases during the sale, the museum said in a press release.

Some of Brandywine’s most popular Critter creations can also be purchased online.

People can catch a glimpse of the Critter ornaments en route to the Brandywine River Museum of Art by the end of November.

On November 27, Brandywine’s whimsical Critter ornaments will be added as holiday decorations to the towering trees of the museum’s three-story atrium. The museum noted that volunteers handcrafted these festive ornaments at home this year.

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