Despite Flooding, Brandywine River Museum Opens Nov. 26 for Holiday Season

Exterior of the Brandywine River Museum
Image via the Brandywine River Museum.

The Brandywine River Museum of Art will reopen to the public on Nov. 26, with the return of the Brandywine Railroad holiday train display and highlights from the permanent collection, states a museum press release.  

The Brandywine has been temporarily closed to the public since Sept. 1, 2021, after historic flooding from Hurricane Ida damaged the museum’s 15-acre campus.

The art in the galleries was safe and unharmed from the floodwaters, but the museum’s lower level, containing a lecture room, classroom, offices, and more, had significant damage, along with 10 other buildings on campus, the release states.

Starting Nov. 26, the museum will be open seven days a week, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It will be closed on Christmas Day.

The Brandywine’s iconic O-gauge model train display will be on view through Jan. 9, 2022.

The train display has been a holiday favorite since 1972.

Also returning in a limited capacity this year will be the Brandywine River Museum’s volunteer-handcrafted Critter ornaments decorating the holiday trees in the museum’s atrium.

The ornaments that had been made for this year’s upcoming sale—over 8,200 new creations—were destroyed by floodwaters, including many decades of Critter ornaments dating back to the early 1980s.

Volunteers rallied after the flood and created a range of new ornaments for the annual holiday sale Dec. 4 and 5.

A team of experts and skilled craftspeople—from structural and electrical engineers t architects, project managers, and workers—have assembled to get the museum open for the holiday season, but many months of work remain before the museum is fully restored.

Find out more about activities at the Brandywine Museum here.


Visit the Brandywine River Museum holiday model train display in this 2017 video.