Brandywine Museums & Gardens Alliance

Media Contact: Daniel McCunney, Chair
(302) 658-9111 x313.

Eleven Regional Gardens and Museums in One Amazing Region Bring Fantasies to Life

(Wilmington, DE-February 24, 2014) The Brandywine Museums & Gardens Alliance invites you to indulge in your favorite fantasy this year with visits to eleven attractions, all located within a ten-mile radius centered near Wilmington, Delaware. Visit each venue's website for expanded listings and reservation links. Images available electronically upon request.

If elegant living is your fantasy, this exhibit is for you: Costumes of Downtown Abbey opens at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library on Saturday, March 1, 2014. This is a major exhibition featuring 40 exquisite costumes from the award-winning PBS series, and runs through January 4, 2015. The Winterthur-curated exhibition will compare and contrast the fictional British world of Downton Abbey with real-life American estate, Winterthur. See iconic costumes such as Lady Edith's wedding dress, Lady Sybil's harem pants, and Lady Mary's engagement dress. The Downton Abbey theme carries over to other Winterthur activities, such as the 36th Annual Point to Point steeplechase and tailgate on Sunday, May 5.

Note: The Costumes of Downton Abbey exhibit will be accessible to Brandywine Treasure Trail Passport holders this summer. Timed tickets are required.

Having a staff to cook and clean is a fantasy of many. See what the life of a domestic was like through Rockwood Mansion's Upstairs Downstairs at Rockwood Manor: Life at Rockwood through the Eyes of the Servants on display throughout 2014. This exhibit is dedicated to the Rockwood servants: those who cleaned, cooked, and cared for the families who lived on the estate from 1854 to 1972. The Cook's Room on the first floor features photos and artifacts from the past, some of which visitors can touch and examine, and a new exhibit depicts a servant's bedroom.

American illustrators brought fantasies into homes every year through calendars, seen in Brandywine River Museum of Art's exhibit, A Date with Art: The Business of Illustrated Calendars, which runs through May 18. Some of Howard Pyle, Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth's best-known images were created for advertising calendars, and in many ways, the calendars and the products they sold served as fantasy stand-ins for art collections and idyllic lifestyles to millions of Americans.

If the catwalks of New York, Paris and Milan are your bag, visit Delaware Art Museum's exhibition, Fashion, Circus, Spectacle: Photographs by Scott Heiser, which runs March 8 through June 1. Heiser was best known for his wildly-cropped glimpses of fashion runway shows for Interview, as well as circus acts, dog shows and other fast-moving pursuits. His unique style enabled him to capture the energy from a moment in time, an insider's view of the fashion shows and couture looks designed by Yves Saint Laurent, Issey Miyake and others, yet he is also known for sensitive portraits that captured famous faces of the 1970s and '80s.

Up until the Renaissance, philosophers fantasized that the practice of alchemy could gain them profound powers. The Delaware Contemporary offers a fantastical group exhibition, Magnum Opus: The Alchemical Process in Art, from March 8 to June 8. Using the proto-scientific field of alchemy as a foil to explore the artistic process, Magnum Opus will examine how ritual, faith, philosophy and science transform base materials into the rarified substance of art.

Time travel is only a fantasy, but you can take a step back in time when you visit Historic New Castle and the Delaware Historical Society's Read House & Gardens, which reopens to the public Wednesdays through Sundays starting April 16. This Federal-style mansion, surrounded by 1.5 acres of formal gardens, is decorated with seasonal adornments, historic wallpaper and "modern" appliances from centuries past, frozen in time - from the year of its construction, 1801, to the bootleg era of the 1920s.

Always dreamed of sprouting wings and flying? You might share that sentiment with the kiwi - whose evolution from a dinosaur-era ancestor made it a bird without the right wings or tail to take flight. The Delaware Museum of Natural History exhibit, Charlie & Kiwi's Evolutionary Adventure, runs through May 26. Using a kid-friendly storyline, this exhibit follows a boy named Charlie as he writes a report about his favorite flightless bird. Visitors can unravel puzzles, play games, explore interactive games, and get up close with live birds.

Hagley Museum and Library is a steampunk's dream. Easy Does It! How Machines Make Life Easier is an interactive exhibit exploring the fundamentals of simple machine technology. Waistcoats optional. This permanent exhibit of wheels and axles, levers, gears, pulleys, the wheelbarrow, a whirring eggbeater and a line shaft is open weekends and holidays except Thanksgiving and Christmas. A single youngster can flex his or her muscles to elevate a grownup on the Lift It pulley platform and visitors of all ages can try a rack and pinion steering mechanism, a bicycle and more.

You don't have to travel a world away to fulfill your tropical fantasies. Simply step through the doors of Longwood Gardens for Orchid Extravaganza, through March 30. Nearly 5,000 living plants are transformed into works of art inside the lush, four-acre Conservatory. Also only in March will you encounter something once considered a myth - the rare Himalayan Blue-poppy - forced to flower in just the right conditions by Longwood Gardens' experts. Be sure to return this summer for the opening of the new Meadow Garden, expanded to 86 acres and alive with native and exotic wildflowers, grasses, wetlands, trails and more.

If you dream of spending more time in your garden, let Mt. Cuba Center help you develop an environmentally-friendly landscape plan for your yard with Landscape for LifeTM. On Wednesday evenings from March 5 to April 9, learn from experts how to create and maintain a great-looking garden that is healthier for you, your family, pets and the environment, and that saves you time and money.

This destination defines fantasy: Nemours Mansion and Gardens reopens to the public on May 1. Set aside time to ponder the Neo-Classical "Four Seasons" sculptures around the pool by French-born American sculptor Henri Crenier, as well as his 23-karat gold leaf gilded "Achievement," which looms over the maze garden on an elevated marble "vase" pedestal.

For more information, visit our website, and join us on on Facebook and Twitter. High-resolution images are available upon request.

About Us

The Brandywine Museums & Gardens Alliance promotes the art, culture, history, and beauty of the Brandywine Valley, and provides a central resource for journalists. For more information, visit or contact Michelle Ullman, 610-388-5275,

Brandywine Museums & Gardens Alliance Members

Brandywine River Museum of Art, U.S. Route 1, Chadds Ford, PA 19317; Lora Englehart, 610-388-8337;

Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806; Jessica Jenkins, 302-351-8558;

The Delaware Contemporary, 200 S. Madison St., Wilmington, DE 19801; Sara Monserrat Teixido, 302-656-6466, x. 7110;

Delaware Historical Society (includes Delaware History Museum in Wilmington and George Read II House and Gardens in New Castle), 504 Market St., Wilmington, DE 19801; MaryLynn Mack, 302-295-2390;

Delaware Museum of Natural History, 4840 Kennett Pike, Delaware Route 52, Wilmington, DE 19807; Daniel McCunney, 302-658-9111,

Hagley Museum and Library, DE Route 141, Wilmington, DE 19807; Meg Marcozzi, 302-658-2400, ext. 238;

Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348; Michelle Ullman, 610-388-5275;

Mt. Cuba Center, Inc., 3120 Barley Mill Road, Hockessin, DE 19707; Sara Stevenson, 302-239-4244 ext. 243;

Nemours Mansion & Gardens, Alapocas Drive and Powder Mill Road (DE Route 141), Wilmington, DE 19803; Steven Maurer, 302-651-6912,

Rockwood Park & Museum, 610 Shipley Rd., Wilmington, DE 19805; Carey Corbin, 302-761-1722;

Winterthur Museum & Country Estate, DE Route 52, Winterthur, DE 19735; Liz Farrell, 302-888-4803;

Tourist Boards

Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau, 100 West 10th St., Wilmington, DE 19801-1661; 302-652-4088.

Brandywine Conference & Visitors Bureau, 1501 N. Providence Road, Media, PA 19063, 800-343-3983.

Chester County Conference & Visitors Bureau, 300 Greenwood Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348, 484-770-8550.

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