CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD AND HOLIDAYS OF LIGHT, AN ANNUAL MSI TRADITION!
Catch the magic at MSI with Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives
CHICAGO (November 13, 2014)—Experience the beloved annual holiday tradition of the Museum of Science and Industry’s 73rd annual Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light exhibits, opening on November 13, 2014. This year’s colorful theme is inspired by the Museum’s temporary exhibit Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, presented by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, which recently was extended through January 4, 2015. This exhibit celebrates the innovation and imagination of Walt Disney’s legacy with more than 300 artifacts from Disney’s 90-year history; hands-on fun for the whole family; and now, newly added artifacts and experiences for the holiday season.
The Museum’s Main Floor dazzles with more than 50 trees beautifully trees and displays, decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities to represent their diverse culture and holiday customs. This exhibit began in 1942 as a United Nations Day salute to the Allies during World War II, and in its first year, only one tree was decorated. Now the yearly tradition has grown into a forest of heartwarming trees and homemade displays.
In the center of it all, MSI’s 45-foot Grand Tree is decked out with more than 30,000 twinkling white lights and hundreds of ornaments and trimmings in shades of red and blue. Images of Mickey, Minnie and other Disney characters are seen helping decorate the tree. Around the Museum’s Rotunda, vintage characters adorn four giant banners that surround the giant tree, and guests can enjoy a mix of popular Disney hits and festive holiday tunes as well as “snow” falling every half hour. On the weekends and select weekdays, guests can also enjoy performances of various ethnic dance and choral groups on the Holiday Stage. The celebration runs through January 4, 2015.
Trees and Traditions
Each Christmas Around the World tree offers insight into the diverse customs that exist during the holiday season or the culture of a particular country.
The Danish tree features woven paper baskets in red and white, the colors of the flag. Traditionally, these would hold candies, nuts or Danish peppernut cookies – a beloved spiced Christmas treat in Denmark. The tree also features ornaments shaped as hand muffs, icicles and northern star, referring to the cold northern climate of the country.
The Puerto Rican tree is decorated with a number of musical instruments of all types. Guitars, maracas, tambourines and gϋiros (a wooden fish-shaped percussion instrument) all adorn the tree to symbolize the Parrandas, musicians who go door to door during the six weeks of Christmas celebrations. In addition, Poinsettias, which are indigenous to Central America, are featured across the branches. Three golden wise men statues are situated beneath the tree, paying homage to the Three Kings—Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar—who are separately celebrated on January 6 in Puerto Rico.
China’s tree is decorated with handmade fortune cookie ornaments as well as colorful Chinese characters representing happiness, good will and prosperity. Christians comprise approximately one percent of China’s population, and those who celebrate decorate their homes with illuminated paper lanterns, which are represented on the Museum’s tree.
Holidays of Light, now in its 21st year, is a multicultural display of holidays that celebrate light or enlightenment. Each year, the display highlights the traditions of the Chinese New Year, Diwali (a Hindu and Sikh festival), Kwanzaa (celebrated by African Americans), Ramadan (celebrated by Muslims), Hanukkah (a Jewish holiday), Visakha Puja Day (a Buddhist holiday), and St. Lucia Day (a Swedish tradition).
Catch Holiday Magic in the Disney Exhibit
Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, which was recently extended through January 4, 2015, features more than 300 artifacts spanning nine decades of Disney history. Just in time for the holidays, new artifacts, costumes and experiences have been added to the exhibit for families with all ages to enjoy.
The hit animated film Frozen takes center stage in an area that allows for guests to explore “The Art of Frozen.” This section features concept art from the making of the film, including early sketches of characters like Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf! Guests can even learn the step-by-step process to draw holiday versions of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, as well other favorite Disney characters, in the exhibit’s facilitated Animation Academy.
Alongside other memorable Disney costumes from films like Hocus Pocus and Pirates of the Caribbean, newly added is Angelina Jolie’s costume from 2014’s Maleficent, in addition to several costumes from the Disney holiday film series The Santa Clause. These include Tim Allen’s Santa Claus outfit, Martin Short’s Jack Frost costume and Elizabeth Mitchell’s Mrs. Claus costume.
This exhibit is not included in Museum Entry and will require an additional timed-entry ticket, which is $9 for adults and seniors and $7 for children 3-11. Tickets are on sale at msichicago.org.
Festive Performances and Great Gift Ideas
The Museum’s Holiday Stage will offer performances from the talented groups that represent the different cultures and countries showcased in Christmas Around the World. Each weekend, guests will be entertained by various dance troupes and choirs spreading spirit through traditional ethnic dance, song and pageantry. In addition, choral performances from area schools will delight guests with holiday favorites during select weekdays. All performances take place on the Holiday Stage on the Museum’s Main Floor, and a full schedule is available at msichicago.org in November. Don’t forget to make a stop at the Holiday Shoppe, full of great gifts and trinkets for family and friends, including unique ornaments representing cultures around the world and special Disney merchandise.
Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light are included in Museum Entry, as are all performances. An additional ticket is required for Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, presented by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club. Visit msichicago.org for details and to purchase tickets.
The Museum is open every day, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Museum will offer extended hours, until 5:30 p.m., on the following days in 2014: November 15, 16, 22, 23; November 28 – 30; December 6, 7, 13, 14; December 20 – 23; and December 26 – 30. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, presented by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light are all presented by Walgreens.
About the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI)
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI), one of the largest science museums in the world, offers world-class and uniquely interactive science experiences that inspire inventive genius and foster curiosity. Through groundbreaking and award-winning exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else, to Live Science Experiences that make you the scientist—a visit to MSI is where fun and learning mix. Through its Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE), MSI offers a variety of student, teacher and family programs that make a difference in communities and contribute to the Museum’s larger vision: to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, medicine and engineering. Come visit and find your inspiration! MSI is open 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Extended hours, until 5:30 p.m., are offered during peak periods. The Museum is supported in part through the generosity of the people of Chicago through the Chicago Park District. For more information, find MSI online at msichicago.org or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago area.
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- The 45-foot-tall Grand Tree in Christmas Around the World is decked in more than 30,000 lights, as well as other festive trimmings and ornaments. This year, the tree is decorated with a Disney theme in honor of temporary exhibit, Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives. [J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry]
- The 45-foot-tall Grand Tree in Christmas Around the World is decked in more than 30,000 lights. [J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry]
- Volunteers decorate the Russian tree, which was created by a local family who wanted to honor their children who had been adopted from Russia. The ornaments include Russian nesting dolls, pinecones and dolls dressed in traditional Russian clothing. [J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry]
- Volunteers, dressed in traditional Ecuadorian clothing, decorate the tree of Ecuador. [J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry]
- A volunteer decorates the Norwegian tree, which is adorned with handmade ornaments that feature the Norwegian traditional art of rosemaling as well as yarn depictions of Nisse, similar to Santa Claus. [J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry]
- The 45-foot Grand Tree is decked in more than 30,000 lights, as well as festive trimmings and ornaments. [Alison Neidt Toonen, Museum of Science and Industry]
- In honor of temporary exhibit, Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, Presented by D23: The Official Disney Fan Club, a holiday-inspired version of Mickey Mouse has been added to the sketch list in the exhibit's Animation Academy, where guests can draw one of their favorite Disney characters. [J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry]
- More than 50 trees and displays are decorated by volunteers from Chicago's ethnic communities. [J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry]
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