This week, Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s 5th annual Night of Lights will once again transform Germantown Avenue into an interactive display of local history and architecture. This year’s innovative public art installation will illuminate Germantown Avenue from Willow Grove to Highland Avenues.
Every night from October 8 through the 17, from 7-9pm, historical images from the Conservancy’s (and partners’) Archives will be projected through storefront windows, while neighboring historic buildings will be transformed with colored lights and films. A mobile experience will virtually share more about buildings’ and storytellers’ histories, and will allow visitors to record their own histories, explore activities, post selfies, and more.
This year’s projection themes illustrate television’s local beginnings (Philo T. Farnsworth), how old houses can be part of the climate solution, postcards from the Wissahickon, adapted and repurposed older buildings, 100 years of the George Woodward Co., the pedestrian experience in Chestnut Hill, a local civil war hospital (and what came after), and historic buildings in Springfield Township.
Night of Lights kicks off on October 8 (rain date: October 9) with some of the best Night of Lights traditions, including interpreters at projection windows, musicians at every block, an oral history recording station, a photo booth, and the Conservancy’s Ask the Archivists table. Community Storytellers Lisa Howe, Willard Detweiler, and Steve Kurtz, will be available to share their stories, and musicians will be performing on every block.
Opening Night will start with an Opening Reception at 5:30 pm honoring George Woodward Co.’s 100th Anniversary. At 6:45pm, a “Flip the Switch” Ceremony at the Woodward offices featuring sponsors and local officials will launch the exhibition.
Night of Lights remains on view through October 17 for self-guided explorations and building trades artisan demonstrations (on October 13). Throughout the week, complementary ticketed events and experiences organized by the George Woodward Co., CHCA, and the Chestnut Hill Business District will include carriage tours, a prohibition-style speakeasy, and (multiple!) tea parties. Many stores will stay open late and restaurants will feature local historic food items on their menus.
“Night of Lights is a truly participatory, community-based event,” said Leah Silverstein, the Conservancy’s Director of Operations and Special Projects and Project Manager for the exhibition. “It was designed to showcase the Chestnut Hill Archives by bringing the collection out of the Conservancy’s headquarters and into the community’s vibrant historic commercial corridor. But the real magic is in the reframing of space where the familiar becomes unfamiliar—the layers of light and history that temporarily transform Germantown Avenue, stimulating visitors to become active participants, sharing their own stories.”
For more information about the Night of Lights Exhibition, Sponsors, and associated special experiences, visit www.chconservancy.org.Videos from the Chestnut Hill Conservancy