Recent Exhibitions

Friday
Nov272015

World Nativities 2015

Friday, November 27 - Sunday, January 10, 2016

Daily 12:00 to 4:30 PM
Closed December 14-15, 24-25

PLEASE NOTE: Glencairn Museum will be closed beginning at 3:30 pm on Sunday, January 10, 2016 for a private memorial.

Suggested donation $5/person (includes both exhibitions)

Presents dozens of three-dimensional Nativity scenes, collected from around the world. For many Christians the Nativity scene is a meaningful expression of religious faith, providing a compelling visual focus during the Christmas season. World Nativities reveals how artisans have adapted the Nativity scene to represent their own national, regional, and local cultures. Nativities are often crafted from whatever materials are locally available, such as clay, grass, cornhusks, bark, gourds, and even coconuts. Settings for the Nativities have been created by Bryn Athyn artisan Kathleen Glenn Pitcairn.

Glencairn’s own Nativity tradition dates to the 1920s, when Raymond and Mildred Pitcairn commissioned a large three-part Nativity for their home by craftsmen from the Bryn Athyn Studios. The Pitcairn Nativity has been displayed annually in Glencairn’s Upper Hall since the building was completed in 1939. In the 1950s the Pitcairns commissioned a similar Nativity for the Eisenhower family, which was placed beside the Christmas tree in the East Room of the White House. This year the scenes have been given new life with professionally designed, dramatic interior lighting, making the Pitcairn Nativity more inspiring than ever.

For this exhibition, Glencairn is proud to debut a unique creation by Navidad Nativities, of Bucks County, PA. This special Nativity setting, with stunning interior lighting, was inspired by the art and architecture of Bryn Athyn Cathedral and Glencairn. The figures in this Nativity were hand carved in wood and dressed in starched fabric by Original Heide, a family business in the Italian Alps.

Top right: This Nativity scene was created especially for this year's World Nativities exhibition at Glencairn by Navidad Nativities, of Bucks County, PA. It honors the architectural legacy of Raymond Pitcairn, who supervised the design and construction of both Bryn Athyn Cathedral and Glencairn, and his particular love for the Christmas and the Nativity story.
Bottom left: Each year Glencairn’s World Nativities exhibition, in addition to drawing from its own growing collection of Nativities from around the world, borrows crèches from the collections of other organizations. In 2013 this Nativity, made in a French monastery by members of the Sisters of Bethlehem, was loaned by Mepkin Abbey, South Carolina. This year Glencairn’s exhibition features several Nativities from the National Christmas Center and Museum. © Glencairn Museum

Friday
Nov272015

Christmas Traditions in Many Lands

Friday, November 27 through Sunday, January 10, 2016

Daily 12 to 4:30 PM
Closed December 14-15, 24-25

PLEASE NOTE: Glencairn Museum will be closed beginning at 3:30 pm on Sunday, January 10, 2016 for a private memorial.

Suggested donation $5/person (includes both exhibitions)

This exhibition reveals how Christmas was celebrated in a variety of countries during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Objects and images from the collection of the National Christmas Center and Museum in Lancaster, Pennsylvania illustrate Christmas customs in many European countries including France, Germany, the Netherlands and Russia, as well as in eastern Pennsylvania.

Image: Père Noël is the French equivalent of the American Santa Claus. He wears a long, hooded robe edged with white fur, and carries presents in a basket like those used by grape harvesters. This papier-mâché figure of Père Noël served as a candy container. On loan from the National Christmas Center and Museum. © Glencairn Museum

Saturday
Apr252015

Marc Chagall and the Bible

Saturday, April 25 through Sunday, October 4, 2015

Tuesday-Friday with 2:30 pm tour or by appointment
Weekends 1:00 - 4:30 PM
Donations welcome.

Marc Chagall (1887–1985) has been called the quintessential Jewish artist of the 20th century, and one of the foremost visual interpreters of the Bible. Chagall said, “Since my early youth I have been fascinated by the Bible. It has always seemed to me and it seems to me still that it is the greatest source of poetry of all time. Since then I have sought this reflection in life and in art. The Bible is like an echo of nature and this secret I have tried to transmit.” 

Marc Chagall and the Bible includes etchings and lithographs of Chagall’s graphic works and historical posters. Etchings from his 1960 Bible series bring together the artist’s spirituality and childhood fantasy through the sophisticated artistry of a master printmaker. Also featured in this exhibition are brilliantly colored images from his 1956 and 1960 suites of Bible lithographs.

Saturday
Jan312015

Eden to Eternity: Molas from the San Blas Islands

Saturday, January 31 through Saturday, April 4, 2015

Tuesday-Friday with 2:30 pm tour or by appointment | Weekends 1:00 - 4:30 PM
Donations welcome.

This exhibition features textiles hand-stitched by the Cuna Indians along the Caribbean coast of Panama. Molas are reverse appliqué panels made for the front and back of blouses worn by Cuna women. Each mola in this exhibition illustrates a story from the Bible—from the Garden of Eden to the Ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven. Molas probably originated with the custom of body painting, traditionally done by Cuna women as early as the 17th century. By the 19th century this painting was replaced by textiles, perhaps because Christian missionaries insisted that the Cuna wear clothing. 

Molas are made by women and female children, using only a needle, scissors and thimble. The Cuna have selectively adopted certain aspects of Western civilization, but continue to maintain their indigenous lifestyle and traditions. Many belong to thriving Christian congregations, and biblical themes are often depicted in their textiles.

The molas in this exhibition are on loan from the collection of Sandra and Bob Bowden.

Pictured above: mola panel with Adam, Eve and the animals of Creation.
Right: Cuna blouse with mola depicting the Wise Men traveling to visit the Christ Child.

Friday
Nov282014

World Nativities

Friday, November 28, 2014 through Sunday, January 11, 2015

12:00 - 4:30 PM Daily (closed December 15-16 and 24-25)
Included with guided tour admission; donations welcome for self-guided viewing.

PLEASE NOTE: The exhibition will close at 3:00 pm on Saturday, January 10, for a private event.

Glencairn Museum’s World Nativities exhibition presents dozens of three-dimensional Nativity scenes, collected from around the world. For many Christians the Nativity scene is a meaningful expression of religious faith, providing a compelling visual focus during the Christmas season. World Nativities reveals how artisans have adapted the Nativity scene to represent their own national, regional, and local cultures. Nativities are often crafted from whatever materials are locally available, such as clay, grass, cornhusks, bark, gourds, and even coconuts.

Glencairn’s own Nativity tradition dates to the 1920s, when Raymond and Mildred Pitcairn commissioned a large three-part Nativity for their home by craftsmen from the Bryn Athyn Studios. The Pitcairn Nativity has been displayed annually in Glencairn’s Upper Hall since the building was completed in 1939. In the 1950s the Pitcairns commissioned a similar Nativity for the Eisenhower family, which was placed beside the Christmas tree in the East Room of the White House.

Kathleen Glenn Pitcairn, an artisan who lives in Bryn Athyn, has provided artistic settings for nearly all of the Nativities.

Image: R. Michael Palan and Karen Loccisano, a husband-and-wife team of professional artists from New York, will exhibit their latest work in progress at Glencairn this year: a Nativity inspired by the paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525-1569) and his son (also named Pieter).