Christmas at Whitehall

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Whitehall, The Flagler mansion in Palm Beach. Photo by C. Cunningham
Palm Beach, FL - Visit the Flagler Museum during December and discover the majesty of a Gilded Age Christmas. Henry Flagler's historic home, Whitehall, will be decorated in traditional Gilded Age splendor from December 1st through Christmas Day. The Flagler Museum invites visitors to escape the holiday fervor and enjoy these special events.    

Special Holiday Lecture 

"Sleigh Rides, Jingle Bells, and Silent Nights: A Cultural History of American Christmas Songs" 
Ronald D. Lankford, Jr.

December 1, 2013
2:00 p.m.
Free for Flagler Museum Members at the Sustaining level and above
$10 for Individual, Family, and Life Members
$28 for non-members includes Museum admission and Tree Lighting festivities

Ronald D. Lankford, Jr. will discuss the evolution of some of the most recognizable Christmas Carols and their links to cultural traditions that shaped the way Americans celebrate Christmas today.

Christmas Tree Lighting
December 1, 2013
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Free with Museum admission

The 16-foot tall Grand Hall Christmas Tree, with its historically accurate trimmings, is the center of Whitehall's holiday celebrations. The Tree Lighting festivities include holiday music played on Whitehall's original 1,249 pipe Odell organ and the 1902 Steinway art-case grand piano. This annual performance is the only opportunity visitors have to hear both of Whitehall's majestic instruments. Special choir performances, refreshments and a visit from Santa Claus complete the afternoon's activities. The event culminates with Henry Flagler's youngest descendants lighting the Grand Hall Christmas Tree. Each visitor will receive a box of Animal Crackers, a treat invented in the Gilded Age. The iconic circus box with a string was originally designed as a Christmas Tree ornament.


Holiday Evening Tours
December 18 and 19: Tours begin at 7:15 p.m. and 7:25 p.m.
December 20 and 21: Tours begin at 7:05 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 7:25 p.m.
December 22 and 23: Tours begin at 6:50 p.m., 7:05 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 7:25 p.m.
$25 for adults
$15 for children ages 17 and under
Advance purchase required

During this beloved annual event, families tour Whitehall after hours and discover the origins of American Christmas traditions. Guests will have a rare opportunity to see Whitehall by the glow of the original 1902 light fixtures. Every visitor will receive a traditional Christmas cracker following the tour. A choral group will sing carols and holiday refreshments will be served. The Museum Store will remain open for holiday shopping.
Clifford Cunningham

Clifford Cunningham is a planetary scientist currently affiliated with the National Astronomical Research Institute. He did his PhD work in the history of astronomy at James Cook University, and has undergraduate degrees in science and ancient history from the University of Waterloo. He is the author of 12 books on asteroids and the history of science. In 1999 he appeared on the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Asteroid 4276 was named in his honour by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in 1990.

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