(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – This year’s Christmas exhibition at Berkshire Museum kicks off on Friday, November 16, 2012, at 5:30 p.m., with a gala opening celebration of Festival of Trees 2012: Myths & Magic. The 28th annual event featuring Christmas trees sponsored by businesses, schools, and community organizations, inspired by this year’s theme of Myths & Magic and arranged throughout the museum’s galleries, will be on view through Wednesday, January 2, 2013.
The annual Festival of Trees is an important fundraiser for Berkshire Museum — the proceeds benefit the education programs that serve more than 16,000 students every year. Once again, Elizabeth Sherman is the chair of the Festival of Trees Committee.
“For nearly three decades, the Festival of Trees has brought people together to marvel at the creative expressions of celebration for the holiday season from different points of view,” says Van Shields, the museum’s executive director. “As an added bonus, Festival of Trees also brings together school children, individuals, businesses and agencies to work together in decorating the trees before they are placed in the museum for all to enjoy.”
Museum admission is $13 for adults and $6 for children. Members and children aged three and under enjoy free admission. Berkshire Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit Berkshire Museum or call 413.443.7171.
A roster of activities and programs is planned for the Christmas season at Berkshire Museum:
Opening Celebration for Festival of Trees 2012: Myths and Magic
Friday, November 16, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Abracadabra, it’s a family-friendly evening of enchanting entertainment and delicious treats, all among the glittering trees gracing the galleries. Tickets: $50 adult, $25 child; Museum members $30 adult, $15 child. Please RSVP by November 12, call 413.443.7171, ext. 42.
Pittsfield Tree Lighting Ceremony
Friday, November 30
Enjoy refreshments and warm up in the Museum before the tree lighting in Pittsfield’s Park Square. The Taconic High School Honors Chorus will perform traditional carols and songs of the season before the tree lighting. Half price admission from 5 to 8 p.m.
Santa Visits the Museum
Saturday, December 1, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Santa Claus makes a special stop at Festival of Trees! Parents, bring your camera and snap a picture of your children with Santa as they share their holiday wishes. Free with Museum admission.
Festival of Trees Family Day
Saturday, December 8
Bring the family to enjoy the sounds, sights, and tastes of the holiday season with a visit to Myths & Magic and a full day of fun!
Animals Up Close: Misfits and Myths
11 a.m.: Burpee’s Zoo brings some of the world’s most intriguing animals to dispel the myths surrounding their habits and habitats. Kangaroos, macaws, African porcupines, and a few special guests will make appearances in this one-of-a-kind live animal show. $15 adult, $8 child; Museum members $5 adult, $3 child, children 3 and under free. Includes Museum admission.
11 a.m.: Enjoy the voices of the Berkshire Singers performing holiday favorites. Free with Museum admission.
Noon: Families enjoy this delicious twist on a Berkshire Museum tradition featuring artful and tasty cookie decoration with a magical theme in mind. Cookies and craft supplies are complimentary, but quantities are limited; first-come, first-served. Free with Museum admission.
2:30 p.m. Berkshire author Gina Hyams presents her new book/kit Christmas Cookie Contest in a Box (Andrews McMeel Publishing) and hosts a Berkshire Museum Cookie Contest. Contestants bake four dozen of their favorite holiday cookies to enter. Museum visitors will vote for their favorite cookie and three People’s Choice Awards will be given. Winners receive a free family membership to the Museum plus a signed copy of Christmas Cookie Contest in a Box. For more information, visit www.berkshiremuseum.org. Free with Museum admission.
Taconic High School Honors Chorus
4 p.m.: Delight in the sounds of traditional holiday carols sung by this talented group of performers. Free with Museum admission.
Little Cinema Holiday Offerings
Sunday, December 16, 2 p.m., and Tuesday, December 18, 7 p.m.
The Nutcracker from Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet
Sunday, December 23, 2 p.m
The Nutcracker from London’s Royal Ballet
The Museum is located at 39 South Street on Route 7 in downtown Pittsfield. Berkshire Museum is the first museum in Berkshire County, established by Zenas Crane in 1903 as a museum of art and natural history. Rethink! American Indian Art at Berkshire Museum is on view through January 6, 2013. Little Cinema is open year-round. Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, Aquarium, Worlds in Miniature, and other exhibits are ongoing.