Holidays at Hagley Museum and Library Revive du Pont Family Traditions

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“Holidays at Hagley” features New Year’s Calling and Twelfth Night exhibits, events, and daily programs based upon nineteenth-century du Pont family holiday celebrations and traditions.

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“Holidays at Hagley” features exhibits, events, and daily programs based upon early du Pont family holiday celebrations and traditions of New Year’s and Twelfth Night. “Holidays at Hagley” will open on Saturday, December 7, 2013, and run through Monday, January 6, 2014 (closed on December 25). Admission to the holiday display and entire 235-acre museum is $14 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and free for members and children 14 and under. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The family of DuPont Company founder E. I. du Pont brought their traditions of exchanging New Year’s gifts and Twelfth Night with them when they emigrated from France to their new home at Hagley. Notes, diary entries, and sketches document these celebrations, and the later New Year’s Calling, in the du Pont family’s records in America. New Year’s Calling was a social occasion. By the mid 1800s, du Pont men would call on du Pont women who were at home to receive them. Thoughtful gifts were exchanged. The Parlor in Eleutherian Mills will be set up for New Year’s Calling as if the family is ready with gifts to receive callers. Upstairs will be a small display of early nineteenth-century New Year’s gifts received by the du Pont family.

Twelfth Night, called “le Jour des Rois” in France, was celebrated on January 6, marking Epiphany and the end of the twelve days of Christmas. A hallmark of this celebration was a Twelfth Night cake. The cake was baked with a silver bean or token. The recipient of the token was named “King” and, in many cases, crowned with a homemade crown. Visitors can see an elaborate Twelfth Night display, complete with a cake, in the Dining Room.

On December 6, Hagley Director of Library Services Erik Rau will kick off the holidays with a program on early du Pont family traditions and celebrations. Check for information on programs and family activities, special sales days at the Hagley Store, and information on brunch at the Belin House Organic Café.

About Hagley Museum and Library

The museum is located on Route 141 in Wilmington, Delaware. GPS Address is 201 Hagley Creek Road, Wilmington, Delaware, 19807.

Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The first bus leaves for the exhibit at 10 a.m. and the last bus at 3:30 p.m.

At Hagley, we invite people of all ages to investigate and experience the unfolding history of American business, technology, and innovation, and its impact on the world, from our home at the historic DuPont powder yards on the banks of the Brandywine.

For more information, call (302) 658-2400 weekdays or visit

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Louise Eliason, Media Contact
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