1) “Currier & Ives and Other Tales of Winter” at Museum of the City of New York
Currier and Ives’ idyllic scenes of winter in New York represent a world gone by. Yet in these iconic images suffused with warm colors and fine details, the past seems very present. The prolific print makers’ work has sometimes been dubbed overly sentimental but as the year wanes, nostalgia is a sentiment that feels just right. Museum of the City of New York presents notable Currier & Ives as well as other winter prints and paraphernalia, including a real one-horse open sleigh, in “Currier & Ives and Other Winter Tales”.
2) Christmas Tree & Neapolitan Baroque Cèche at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Christmastide at the Cloisters
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s crèche, the evocative eighteenth-century Neapolitan Nativity scene, at the base of the magnificent spruce is composed of the late Loretta Hines Howard’s peerless crèche figurine collection. For nearly 40 years, The Met has displayed her collection every holiday season. Since her passing, her daughter and granddaughter continue to assist with the installation design. The museum’s enchanting medieval art branch uptown, the Cloisters, is also dressed in evergreens and herbs for the celebration of Christmastide according to medieval customs, many of which we still continue.
3) A Christmas Carol and Holiday Americana at The Morgan Library & Museum
Every holiday season, The Morgan displays the original manuscript of A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens wrote the iconic winter’s tale in a wild six-week flurry in order to make Christmas publication in 1843. It was met with an instant adulation that has never waned. Other intimate literary treasures are also on holiday display at the museum, including a handwritten comic manuscript, A Christmas Vacation, written by a precocious 11-year-old Truman Capote, and a poignant journal entry from Henry David Thoreau describing the enchantment of the “glorious frost on a storefront window displaying holiday gifts.”
4) “Maurice Sendak Remembers” at The Jewish Museum
For this year’s annual Hanukkah exhibition at the Jewish Museum, renowned writer and artist, Maurice Sendak selected pieces from the museum’s preeminent collection that recall the centrifugal pull of joy and sadness that suffuses the memory of the pre-war Eastern Europe his parents left behind as well as his own work. Of the piece above, nearly identical to one he inherited from his parents, he said “My parents just loved the menorah. Although there were times when they just never used them…I think on coming to America, they dropped the whole business of being Jews in the European sense…I think the life was so tough, there was no sentiment.” Maurice Sendak passed away in May of this year.
5) “Holiday Express: Toys and Trains” at New-York Historical Society
Exquisite hand-crafted model trains, carousels, Ferris wheels, and other toys, all peopled with charming figurines in nineteenth century dress, are on view this holiday season at New-York Historical Society, in the museum’s first exhibition selected from the renowned Jerni Collection. The exhibition includes the only existing first model elevated train station (above) by unequaled toy manufacturer, Märklin. A good place to bring your inner child.