Come Experience ‘Bright Lights’ on Saturday and Sunday

‘Bright Lights: Celebrate the Season’ Continues Through December 18

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s third annual holiday event, Bright Lights: Celebrate the Season, continues on Saturdays and Sundays through December 18, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm, and on Thursday, December 22.

Thousands of warm-white lights illuminate the trees and walkways, and the exterior and interior of the Vanderbilt Mansion, along with wreaths, garlands, guest rooms, dining room, the family’s living quarters, the garden that overlooks the bay, behind the Mansion.

The event will include Candlelight Tours of the decorated Vanderbilt Mansion, visits with Santa and friends in his workshop, a children’s scavenger hunt, and a 15-minute Holiday Laser show in the Reichert Planetarium. In addition, the Stoll Wing and Habitat wild-animal dioramas and the Hall of Fishes marine museum will be open for visitors. Also open: the Vanderbilt Café and Gift Shop, located in the Planetarium lobby.

Elizabeth Wayland-Morgan, Executive Director of the Vanderbilt Museum, said, “We are thrilled to invite everyone to kick off the holiday season and celebrate with us. The decorated and lighted Mansion and Estate become a winter wonderland. Bright Lights offers evenings of family fun for all.”

This year’s huge lighted Courtyard tree, a 30-foot Norway spruce, was donated by Susan and Abel Oonnoonny of Centerport.

All-inclusive tickets: adults $25 | Members $20; children 12 and under $15 | Members $10; children 2 and under FREE.

Progressive-Era Comics: Childhood Visual Culture

On Thursday, December 8, the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum will host Lara Saguisag, a heralded comics and children’s literature scholar from New York University, for Incorrigibles and Innocents, an evening lecture on the visual culture of childhood at the turn of the century. The lecture will take place at 7:00 pm in the Museum’s Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium.


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The Progressive Era (1890-1920) was a period of intense social activism and reform. Committed citizens from this period sought to address a wide variety of problems caused by industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and political corruption. Although their efforts ushered in profound change, greatly improving the living conditions of the politically excluded or marginalized, culture at large expressed significant anxieties over the new social codes emerging alongside this rapid transformation of everyday life.

For decades, academics have noted that cultural preoccupations play out in the visual culture—comics, movies, photographs, etc.—of a period. When trained correctly, it is possible to “read” these forms of entertainment to develop a more nuanced understanding of what goes unstated in other texts. To better understand the Progressive Era, Lara Saguisag’s research examines the proliferation of comic books headlined by children during that period, including Hogan’s Alley, Buster Brown, The Katzenjammer Kids, and Little Nemo in Slumberland.

Saguisag suggests that popular representations of children in these strips reflect the emerging social codes of industrial society while also prefiguring public expectations about the future boundaries of citizenship, particularly along the lines of race, class, and gender. Saguisag’s study is a tremendous contribution to comics scholarship and an important work for understanding the processes by which social dynamics evolve.

Incorrigibles and Innocents received the Charles Hatfield Book Prize from the Comics Studies Society, the Ray and Pat Browne Award for Best Single Book from the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, and an Eisner nomination for Best Academic/Scholarly Work.

Lara Saguisag is an Associate Professor and the inaugural Georgiou Chair in Children’s Literacy and Literature in the Department of Teaching and Learning at NYU Steinhardt. She earned her Ph.D. in Childhood Studies from Rutgers University-Camden; MFA in Creative Writing from The New School; MA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University; and BA in English from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Saguisag served on the Board of the Children’s Literature Association from 2019-2022.

‘A Child’s Life at Eagle’s Nest’ for Grades K-4

The Vanderbilt will offer A Child’s Life at Eagle’s Nest, a program for children in grades K-4, on Saturday, December 10, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Learn about life at the Vanderbilt mansion, play games, listen to the music of the 1930s, and make a dreamy snow globe.



Beth Lazer-Limmer, Associate Director of Education, said, “children love having the mansion all to themselves. They play games in the halls and listen to old radio shows and jazz and make something that will remind them of the fun they had.”

Long Island Chamber Music: Bach, Ravel Under the Stars

Long Island Chamber Music will present a performance by a string quartet on Friday, December 16, at 7:30 pm in the Vanderbilt Reichert Planetarium. The program will include pieces by Bach, Ravel, Sibelius, and others.

The music will be accompanied by beautiful panoramic imagery of the stars projected onto the 60- foot planetarium dome.

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LICM was founded in 2020 by husband-and-wife team Eric Huckins and Gergana Haralampieva alongside composer Nick DiBerardino. Their mission is to make world-class classical music readily accessible to Long Island communities. The group provides classical music concerts, educational programs, and private lessons for communities across Long Island year-round.

LICM musicians are drawn from Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Astral Artists, and several other of the country’s most prominent musical institutions. In addition to being leaders in their artform, LICM musicians are teaching artists, entrepreneurs, and socially minded advocates for classical music.

Give Vanderbilt Museum Memberships as Gifts

Looking for gift ideas? This holiday season, give the gift of discovery, exploration, and Gold Coast wonder  – an individual or family membership to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.

Benefits include unlimited admissions, Mansion tours, and Planetarium shows.

Looking for gift ideas? This holiday season, give the gift of discovery, exploration, and Gold Coast wonder  – an individual or family membership to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.

Benefits include unlimited admissions, Mansion tours, and Planetarium shows.

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Winter Solstice: Fun Workshops for Children

Children in grades K-4 can have a lot of holiday fun in two Winter Solstice Celebration workshops offered by educators at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.

Beth Laxer-Limmer, Associate Director of Education, said, “Children will learn about the winter solstice and how animals (and people) adapt to fewer hours of sunlight.

“We’ll explore the gardens, and collections and get creative to light up dark nights and cold days. Winter is a magical time. The Vanderbilt’s workshops celebrate the beauty and activity in nature as winter begins.”

Workshops are offered from 10 am to 12 pm. Fee: $20 / $18 for members.

Tuesday, December 27: Solstice Lantern & Planetarium Show

Wednesday, December 28: Bulb Botany and Winter Blooms




Storytime Under Stars: Books with Winter Themes  

The Vanderbilt Museum’s next Storytime Under the Stars is set for Sunday, January 16, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm in the Reichert Planetarium.

A live narrator at the front of the theater will read from selected picture books, with pages projected onto the Planetarium dome for families to enjoy the illustrations and follow along.

Between stories, an astronomy educator will explore seasonal constellations visible from here on Long Island. All children are invited to wear their comfiest pajamas and bring their favorite stuffed animals. The admission fee is $8 per person and $6 for members.


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Erin Bennett, Planetarium Education Coordinator, said, “Storytime Under the Stars brings classic storybooks to life, and will introduce families to new favorites, too. We’re excited to revitalize this popular planetarium program using our state-of-the-art digital projectors. Join us for a magical and memorable night out with the whole family.”


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