April 17, 2021

‘The Magic of Christmas’ Opens at Old Lyme’s Florence Griswold Museum

There are now four palette trees to hold the more than 200 hand-painted palettes on display in this year’s ‘Magic of Christmas.’

OLD LYME — Even this year the holiday season is something special to celebrate at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn.!

After all, Miss Florence was born on Christmas Day, 1850. The Museum will be decked out in its holiday finery for the Magic of Christmas celebration from Nov. 27, 2020 through Jan. 3, 2021.

Twelve new works of art have been added to Miss Florence’s Artist Trees. Since 2004, noted artists from across the country have donated works to this one-of-a-kind holiday icon – so many that now four trees are needed to hold the works of art.

One of this year’s new palettes is ‘Florence Griswold Summer Garden’ by Jeffrey Saverine.

The idea of contemporary artists creating paintings on artists’ palettes is a nod to the Museum’s history as the center for the Lyme Art Colony, and alludes to the door and wall panels the artists painted throughout Miss Florence’s boardinghouse over a century ago.

The palette artists’ styles and subject matter are as varied as the individuals. Oils, acrylics, watercolors, ceramics, glass, and collage are used to transform the palettes into traditional holiday scenes, delightful landscapes, and more than a few surprises. The palettes are displayed on four trees in the Krieble gallery, along with the current exhibitions, Expanding Horizons: Celebrating 20 Years of the Hartford Steam Boiler Collection and Centennial of the Lyme Art Association Gallery.

All ages can enjoy the beautiful Palette Christmas Trees at the ‘Magic of Christmas’ exhibition

The decorations in the historic rooms of the Florence Griswold House feature a new twist on the traditional décor. Imagine a fictional mantel-decorating contest in the Griswold boarding-house between the historic Lyme Art Colony artists. Inspired by their paintings, they rummage through their studios as well as old trunks in Miss Florence’s attic for festive objets d’art and holiday decorations.

Miss Florence (with the help of votes by visitors) will decide on winners and award ribbons on her birthday – Christmas Day. Watch the Museum’s social media accounts for the news.

In addition to the traditional decorations, three Fantasy Trees add bespoke sparkle in the historic house – two created by Museum staff and a third by Candice Hunsinger of Ivory & Iron in Essex.

And just for fun (and a great photo opportunity), Santa’s sleigh filled with presents will be stationed in the Rafal Landscape Center.

Many special events and programs are held in conjunction with the Magic of Christmas.

Christmastime Teas are among the most popular events. Delectable scones with clotted cream, assorted tea sandwiches, and cookies prepared by Gourmet Gallery, a caterer known for their delicious flavors and impeccable presentations, are accompanied by “Miss Florence’s Tea,” a special blend from Sundial Gardens in Higginum. Miss Florence’s Tea is a special blend of superior Ceylon and China black tea enhanced with a touch of delicate spices. The tea celebrates the camaraderie and creativity of the Lyme Art Colony with each cup.

Teas are held Dec. 1 through 30 on Tuesdays through Saturdays at 2 p.m. Call 860-434-5542 x 118 for information and reservations.

Unique gifts from The Shop and memberships to the Museum make thoughtful holiday and hostess gifts. Purchases can be made at the Museum or online.

When you visit the Museum during the Magic of Christmas, consider bringing a non-perishable food item that will be donated to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries.

Located on a 12-acre site in the historic village of Old Lyme, the Florence Griswold Museum is known as the Home of American Impressionism. In addition to the restored Florence Griswold House, where the artists of the Lyme Art Colony lived, the Museum features a modern exhibition gallery, education center, landscape center, extensive gardens, and a restored artist’s studio.

The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95 and is open April through December Tuesday through Sunday 10am to 4pm and January through March Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday 1 to 4pm. The Museum is closed Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 students, and free to children 12 and under. Note that admission is available with 24-hour advance online ticketing only.

For more information, visit the Museum’s website www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org or call 860-434-5542 x 111.

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