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Please Touch Museum Features Enchanted Colonial Village for the Holidays

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Photo Courtesy of the Please Touch Museum

While the Please Touch Museum is an interactive, imaginative world for kids — there’s now another reason for parents to come enjoy themselves as well during the holiday season. 

Just past the hands-on water exhibits and right before the carousel, sits a small collection of buildings known as the Enchanted Colonial Village. 

Adults may remember the magical village from their own childhood days. The original display of 18 scenes, then called the “Enchanted Christmas Village,” was displayed at the Lit Brothers department store at 8th and Market from 1962 until 1975. 

The collection of three-quarter sized buildings and people has had a few homes since the Lit Brothers filed for bankruptcy in 1977. It was on display at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Horticulture, and the Atwater Kent Museum. 

But since 2001, it’s been apart of the Please Touch Museum’s annual holiday display. 

Only nine buildings now remain, but the museum has gone through great lengths to get it restored so it can still be enjoyed by families who want to continue the holiday tradition of viewing the display. 

Reminiscent of an old-time village during the winter months, the buildings in the village are decorated with snow, with wide-open windows to show the animated scenes unfolding inside. 

It took about two weeks for six staff members at the museum to set up the village, which opened Nov. 20, said Silvana Pop, public relations coordinator for the museum. 

Pop said while the holidays are one of the busiest times for the museums, a few hundred grown-ups often come in during this time specifically to see the village each year.

The first sight to see is the Blacksmith Shop, where two workers bang on an iron anvil and another man stokes the coals in the background. Boots, rope and other tools hang on the open door. 

At the Bakery, three cooks are hard at work rolling out dough and putting a fresh loaf in the oven. Loaves of bread sit on the shelves and bags of flour rest on the ground.

The Watchmaker’s Shop is also busy with action. Cuckoo clocks hang on the wall as two workers tinker away with the tiny tools. 

There’s plenty of shopping happening at the Village Store, and a few funny scenes are unfolding inside. Goods such as dried meats, husked corn and baskets of vegetables are all on display. 

Over at the toymaker, two children stand in the snow, peering into the window where toy soldiers are moving round and round. 

And old fashioned street light illuminates the next building, the Tailor Shop, where clothes are being made and pressed as a cat wiggles its tail in the window. 

Photo Courtesy of the Please Touch Museum

The final scene is one that may still be scene today in many homes during the holidays — a family enjoying a full spread of turkey, breads, cheese and a glazed pie. 

With about 10 million Philadelphia residents and outsiders visiting the village in its original location, the museum is hoping it will continue to be part of the city’s tradition. 

“The Village has been a part of Philadelphia’s annual holiday tradition for over 40 years, and we are excited to once again share the magic and motion of holidays past with children and their families at Please Touch Museum,” says Nancy Kolb, President and CEO of Please Touch Museum. 

And if visiting the museum gets you even more in the Christmas spirit, there’s shopping opportunities inside the gift store.

For those who can’t make it to the museum and still want a unique and educational gift for their kids, a satellite version of the Kids Store is opening Black Friday in Plymouth Meeting Mall. 

The kiosk features gift certificates and admission tickets to Please Touch Museum, T-shirts and other museum-branded merchandise. It will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 8 p.m. through Dec. 20. 

Please Touch is bringing its Play Patrol to the mall for four weekends in November and December — a traveling version of the museum, featuring arts and crafts activities, sports-themed activities and giveaways. 

Please Touch Museum will be closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The museum will close at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, December 24.

For more information visit www.pleasetouchmuseum.org.