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Exploring Fall Colors at Crystal Bridges

Thomas Moran (1837-1926)
Autumn Landscape
ca. 1865
Oil on canvas

Thomas Moran (1837-1926) Autumn Landscape ca. 1865 Oil on canvas

FallAs the summer heat subsides and the air grows crisp, it’s evident that autumn has arrived. Among the most noticeable signs of fall is the changing of the leaves. The Museum sits on 120 acres of wooded terrain, and come late October, you cannot look outside without experiencing an explosion of warm colors. The vibrant leaves seem to engulf the forest like fire; innumerable shades of red, orange, burgundy, and yellow flicker into existence, spread, and intensify, then suddenly, they’re gone.

Our mission at Crystal Bridges is to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. Right now, nature’s beauty is at its apex, so we are embracing this radiant season through a variety of programs and activities for all ages.

Preschoolers enjoy a story about autumn color.

Preschoolers enjoy a story about autumn color.

Autumn is a time of transformations—seasonal shifts that impact even the youngest among us. In October, a group of three- to five-year-olds explored these changes at our Preschool Art Class on Fall Color. They discussed the transition, observing that as the temperature drops, leaves fall and birds begin to migrate. One little boy commented that he likes all of the migrating birds, but they’re very difficult to capture. He noted, “I can’t catch them. They’re too high.”

Thomas Moran (1837-1926) Autumn Landscape ca. 1865 Oil on canvas

Thomas Moran (1837-1926)
Autumn Landscape
ca. 1865
Oil on canvas

Moving on from the evasiveness of aerial creatures, the class read a story about fall colors, learned about Thomas Moran’s painting Valley of the Catawissa in Autumn in the galleries, and created art utilizing the hues they had seen throughout their visit.

Outside at the Tulip Tree Shelter, Horticulturist Cody George spoke to a more advanced audience of Museum goers about the autumn foliage at Discover the Grounds: Fall Colors. This discussion touched on a variety of colorful specimens ranging from the stunning red leaves of Oakleaf Hydrangea to the intense fuchsia fruit of the Beautyberry.

Oakleaf hydrangeaGeorge explained that the actual change in leaf color is caused by a number of factors including temperature, moisture levels, and length of day. The ample rains, sunny days, and cool nights we’ve had this year are ideal for optimum leaf color.

The autumn foliage is showing in full force now, but won’t last much longer!  Don’t forget to take a moment to step outside, breathe in the fresh air, create a leaf rubbing—try to catch a bird if you so desire—and immerse yourself in this exquisite season.

Discover the Grounds has concluded for the year, but the program will resume again this spring. In the meantime, take a stroll and explore the wild foods growing around the Museum grounds on the Fall Forage Tour. This hour-long tour departs from the South Lobby each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11:30 a.m. through the end of November. Trail tours are free, and there is no registration required. 

 

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