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Cloisters Museum Gets Historically Decked Out For Christmas

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The Cloisters' museum of medieval art and architecture in Upper Manhattan is decorated for Christmas where the surroundings have visitors humming their favorite carols. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

At The Cloisters, they've decked the halls with boughs of holly...literally, and that favorite sing-a-long helps keep the decor historically accurate to the middle ages.

"Because there are no medieval Christmas decorations that have survived, Christmas carols are one of the great sources for knowing what kinds of materials would have been used to decorate. Things like holly, which is that Christmas carol everyone knows probably but also things like ivy," says Griffith Mann, Curator at The Cloisters.

The ivy and other plants are from right outside the museum in Fort Tryon Park. The apples are from upstate. But you won't find a Christmas tree at The Cloisters. For that you'd have to go to the main branch at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

"So people come here and they might think there'll be a Christmas tree but that's something that arises as part of our Christmas rituals in the 19th century," explains Mann.

There's good news if you want to visit both museums. A ticket usually gets you into both on the same day, but right now you have lots more time to visit.

"During the 75th anniversary of the Cloisters people who buy a ticket to the Met or The Cloisters can use that same ticket during the same week for admission to either museum," says Mann. "It's been popular enough that we feel like that's something we might need to extend."

The Cloisters is quiet and serene but it's still a great place to bring kids any time of year especially at the holidays when there are special family programs.

"On the 27th and 28th we're having a family festival with gallery workshops for children ages 4 through 12. They'll be learning about medieval stained glass, looking at some of the beautiful examples of glass in the collection here at The Cloisters and learning how it was made and then kids get to make and design their own glass window to take home," says Emma Wegner, Museum Educator at The Cloisters.

The decorations are up through January 2.

For more information, visit www.metmuseum.org.

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