For over three decades, visitors to A Brandywine Christmas have enjoyed enchanting, whimsical "critter" ornaments. Each year in March, the "glue-gun gang" of 120 volunteers begins crafting these delightful ornaments from natural materials. By the opening of A Brandywine Christmas, they will have made nearly 9,000 critters-both for display and for sale.
Critters are the ideal gift, handmade ornaments that are environmentally friendly, distinctive and artistic. Don't miss annual Critter Sale on December 1 and 2. All proceeds from the sale of critters benefit the Volunteers' Art Purchase Fund, which has added more than 200 paintings, drawings, and prints to the Museum's holdings since 1975.
New children's book
The critters "come alive" in Teasel and Twigs: 'Tis a Critter Christmas Tale. Written by Paige DD Singer, the book is a tribute to her grandmother, the late Elizabeth "Libby" Dean, one of the founders of the critter program. The book tells the delightful story of the adventures of the critters the night before the annual Children's Christmas Party and is illustrated by Robert Dionne. To purchase the book, please click here.
All proceeds from the sale of the critters benefit the Volunteers' Art Purchase Fund, which has added more than 200 paintings, drawings and prints to the Museum's holdings since 1975.
Critters have adorned trees at the White House and the Smithsonian Institution. The first critters were created in 1972 by a group of volunteers who were asked to use natural materials decorate a small tree for display during A Brandywine Christmas using natural materials. The woods, fields, and roadsides near the museum were the volunteers' main resource. Those first ornaments were simple, unadorned pinecones, teasel pods, milkweed cases and dried flowers.
While the critters have become more elaborate and creative through the years, the basic ingredients are the same. It is the way the materials are put together that lends each critter its distinct character. Interesting shapes, colors, and textures are of primary importance.
Gathering plant materials is always done with conservation in mind. Plants are always cut, never pulled out by the roots. Seeds are shaken out of the seed head at the site, allowing future plants to germinate. Materials are carefully preserved and stored; what is not used one year is saved for the next.
Whether you want to see the critters at the Brandywine River Museum, purchased critters as holiday gifts, or make critters yourself, these creative and collectible critters will capture your heart!
Create a Critter
The critter display is part of A Brandywine Christmas, on view from November 23, 2012 to January 6, 2013.
The museum celebrates the season with fabulous holiday displays including an extensive O-gauge model railroad the exhibition
Pop Up! Illustration in 3-D.
Brandywine River Museum, U.S. Route 1, P.O. Box 141
Chadds Ford, PA 19317 Phone: 610-388-2700
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