Friday, November 20, 2009

Now on display: The Enchanted Colonial Village!

Please Touch Museum kicks off the holiday season with a trip to the village-- The Enchanted Colonial Village!

Millions of families in the 1960s and 70s took holiday trips to Lit Brothers Department Store in Center City to shop and visit the Enchanted Colonial Village. For over 40 years, it has been a staple in Philadelphia and continues to delight children and adults alike. Designed by Lit Brothers display designer, Thomas Comerford, the Village was built by a German toy firm specifically for the department store. It is a 3/4 life-size display, which originally depicted 18 scenes of a small colonial hamlet preparing for the holidays. After Lit Brothers closed in 1977, the Sun Oil Company (Sunoco) bought the display, but was unable to find a new home for the Village. In '82, it was restored by Williamson Trade School of Media, PA and given to Longwood Gardens for their holiday celebration.

After a few other stops in the late 80's and 90's, Please Touch Museum purchased the Village for $1 in the year 2000 and restored the remaining eight scenes. To this day, the Enchanted Colonial Village provides families with a glimpse into the past, while giving them a chance to share their favorite childhood memories!

I recently talked to Milton Boone, Exhibit Technician Extraordinaire at Please Touch about the Village. Read on for more...

Pinky: So how long does it take to put up the Village every holiday season?
Milton: It usually takes about two weeks to get everything in the right place and set up all of the accessories.

What is the Village made of?
Milton: Mostly wood. The buildings are all made of wood. Even the people figures are made of wood and paper and painted. A lot of it has been updated... most of the figures have new technology inside to make them move. A lot of the eyeballs had to be replaced. Oh, and a lot of the clothing was updated, too!

And what do you like most about the Village?
Milton: I am always amazed by how many people remember seeing it for the first time at Lits and how much they enjoy it! Some visitors will even point out if something looks wrong- like a mechanism isn't working the way they remember it! It's a great holiday tradition.

Be sure to stop by and see this Philadelphia tradition before January 3, 2010! Happy Holidays!

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