The wonder of the holiday season kicks off at the Brandywine Museum of Art with the return of the Brandywine Railroad on November 19, 2022. Celebrating 50 years of operation this year, the iconic O-gauge model train display has been a cherished holiday tradition for generations of Museum visitors.

On view through January 8, 2023, the Brandywine Railroad features trains running on 2,000 feet of track and includes more than 1,000 pieces, such as locomotives, passenger and freight trains, and trolleys that pass through a small village, a farm, factories, a drive-in movie theater and even a carnival. Additional features to look out for this year include several small “Easter eggs” hidden throughout the display for the observant visitor, such as miniature depictions of the Brandywine Conservancy’s Laurels Preserve and the grounds of the Radnor Hunt Races, as well as a new scenic backdrop that surrounds the entire gallery. A dazzling array of both toy and scale model trains can be seen chugging through the varied scenery, including those made by Lionel, Williams, Atlas, Mike’s Train House, K-line and others. Several interactive components are also integrated to allow for further visitor engagement. 

In addition to the Brandywine Railroad, the Museum’s special exhibition, Fragile Earth: The Naturalist Impulse in Contemporary Art, will also be on view through January 8. Spanning two galleries of striking works created in a variety of media, Fragile Earth highlights the diverse approaches taken by four leading contemporary artists—Jennifer Angus, Mark Dion, Courtney Mattison and James Prosek—whose work engages with environmental themes. 

Adding to the holiday festivities, the Brandywine’s whimsical Critter ornaments will once again adorn the trees in the Museum’s atrium. Each year since 1971, these distinctive ornaments have been carefully handcrafted by a dedicated group of volunteers using only natural materials such as teasel, pinecones, acorns, eggshells, flowers and seed pods. Thousands of “classic Critter” favorites and fanciful new creations will be available for purchase during the annual Holiday Critter Sale, held offsite this year at the nearby Chadds Ford Historical Society on November 30-December 4, 2022. A smaller selection of Critter ornaments are also available for purchase online and can be shipped across the country by visiting 

Beginning November 26, the Museum will be open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed on Christmas day). Support for the Brandywine Railroad is provided by The Davenport Family Foundation Fund for Exhibitions, Otto’s BMW and James S. Herr Family Foundation.