THE ENCHANTED VILLAGE Philadelphia
The largest grant in The Philadelphia Foundation's 82-year history — an $845,000 award to Please Touch Museum — will restore the Enchanted Colonial Village and bring this historic holiday attraction back to public display for the first time in many years.
The Enchanted Colonial Village is a ¾ life-size display with 18 scenes of workshops in a colonial hamlet preparing for the holidays. It was designed by Lit Brothers' display designer Thomas Comerford, and built by the German toy firm Christian Hofman, around 1960. The Village was the size of a city block and was displayed in Lit Brothers from 1962 until 1975. More than 4,000,000 visitors saw it at Lit's.
When Lit Brothers closed, the exhibit was bought by the Sun Oil Company and given to Longwood Gardens for their Christmas celebrations. Longwood Gardens gave it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1984. In 1989 the Smithsonian lent it to the Atwater Kent Museum, where the 3,000-square-foot display occupied the entire second floor until 1995. It has been in storage ever since.
"This grant will bring the past and the future together for our children," said Nancy D. Kolb, President and CEO of the museum.
"The Enchanted Colonial Village was a favorite for generations of holiday shoppers. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are proud to be able to restore this cultural landmark to the community and to assist Please Touch Museum in their expansion," said Swinney.
Please Touch Museum is in the midst of an ambitious $65 million capital campaign to relocate to a new Penn's Landing location that will anchor the revitalization and tourist attractions of Philadelphia's historic waterfront. The new museum will be the second largest children's museum in the country and the third largest in the world, and will play a key role in enhancing the educational and cultural profile of our region.
The Village will be displayed from Thanksgiving through New Year's starting in 2003. It will help heighten children's awareness of our history.
"Due to the great affection that generations of Philadelphians have had for the Village, we expect it to help us attract an unprecedented number of holiday visitors," said Kolb.
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THE UNEXPECTED GUEST