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The Night Before Christmas: The Art of Charles Santore

November 2, 2019 @ 10:00 am - February 2, 2020 @ 5:00 pm

No other text has been illustrated by picture-book artists as much as “A Visit From Saint Nicholas” or “The Night Before Christmas,” attributed to theologian Clement Clarke Moore.

The narrative poem, first published in the Troy (New York) Sentinel on December 23, 1823, has been reprinted in everything from almanacs to advertisements; it’s been dramatized, satirized, parodied, and set to music. It’s been published in newspapers, recited on stage, retold on film, read over the radio, performed on television and posted on the Internet. And most importantly it is a holiday tradition, a classic that has been read for over 196 years to countless children, poring over the books illustrations.

The poem was one of the first American children’s books to be illustrated in color and the verses are some of the most recognized in the English language. It has inspired- and is still inspiring – generations of artists.

In keeping with its tradition of presenting an annual holiday exhibition, the Upcountry History Museum will transport visitors back in time through an exhibit that features the watercolor paintings from “The Night Before Christmas,” illustrated by the renowned Charles Santore (born 1935). Santore’s beautiful images, filled with wreaths, stockings, flying reindeer, a moonlit night, and, of course, Saint Nick, bring to life the warmth and spirit of this holiday classic.

Santore began his career as a freelance illustrator working for advertising agencies and magazines. Since 1986, he has worked as a children’s book illustrator, becoming one of the most respected and acclaimed illustrators of today. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Brandywine River Museum of Art, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Woodmere Art Museum.

In addition to Santore’s 24 pieces of original artwork, visitors will step into the pages of the holiday classic through full-size wall murals, video interactives, and hands-on activities; along with nineteenth century children’s toys, holiday trimmings, seasonal greetings, and an extraordinary dollhouse from the Museum’s permanent collection.

Designed for visitors of all ages, the 1,000 square foot exhibition, organized in partnership with illustrator Charles Santore, will appeal to nostalgia-seeking visitors as well as new generations.


$10 – Adults
$9 – Senior Adults & College Students with ID
$8 – Kids & Teens (ages 4-18)
FREE to children ages 3 and under.


November 2, 2019 @ 10:00 am
February 2, 2020 @ 5:00 pm
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