NEWARK: The Newark Museum will kick off the holiday season on December 5 with a free event that includes performances, planetarium shows, tours, hands-on workshops and holiday treats. The event, titled Winter Festival of Lights: Celebrating the Spirit of the Holidays, runs from 4-9 pm and visitors of all ages are welcome.

The festivities begin at 4 pm in the Museum’s Engelhard Court. Activities for children and families include a candle making workshop, a reading of the holiday classic 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, a special tour celebrating the seven principles of Kwanzaa and the ceremonial lighting of the Hanukkah menorah. There will also be the making and tasting of the traditional Hanukkah treat potato pancakes, courtesy of the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn, NY. Chocolate samplings will also be provided by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Chester, NJ.

At 5:30 pm, the Voices of Jubilation Choir will sing holiday favorites in the Horizon Plaza and lead a candle lighting ceremony to celebrate unity and the spirit of the holidays. Hot cocoa will be served.

The performance will be followed by a reception in the Engelhard Court from 6:30-9 pm. Hot wassail and traditional holiday treats from around the world will be served. At 6:45, OBIE Award-winning actress and writer Nikkole Salter will do a dramatic reading from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

From 7:30-8:30 pm, Interim Director and Chief Curator Ulysses Grant Dietz will give candle-lit tours of the Ballantine House, which will be decorated for Christmas. This year’s theme is Feasting with Family and Friends.

Planetarium showings of Season of Light will be offered every hour from 5-8 pm. Suitable for adults and children ages 6 and up, this annual holiday favorite traces the development of many of the world's endearing holiday customs, all of which involve lighting up the winter season - from the Yule log and sparkling Christmas tree lights to the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah.

The Museum Shop will be open throughout the evening and guests will be given a 20% discount on purchases and enjoy a 3.5% sales tax. Unique gifts include jewelry, fashions, holiday cards, books, decorative objects, ornaments, calendars and toys for all ages.

To learn more about programs and events, visit, or follow the Museum on Facebook at or Twitter at


The Newark Museum is located at 49 Washington Street in the Downtown/Arts District of Newark, New Jersey, just 3 blocks from NJPAC and 10 miles west of New York City. The Museum is open all year round: Wednesdays through Sundays, from Noon – 5:00 p.m.  Suggested Museum admission: Adults, $10.00; Children, Seniors and Students with valid I.D., $6.00.  Newark Residents and Members are admitted free. The Museum Café is open for lunches Wednesday through Sunday. Convenient parking is available for a fee. The Newark Museum campus, including its collections, facilities, and other resources, is accessible to accommodate the broadest audience possible, including individuals utilizing wheelchairs, with physical impairments, other disabilities, or special needs. For general information, call 973-596-6550 or visit our web site,

Newark Museum, a not-for-profit museum of art, science and education, receives operating support from the City of Newark, the State of New Jersey, the New Jersey Council on the Arts/Department of State — a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey Cultural Trust, the Prudential Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Victoria Foundation, the Wallace Foundation and other corporations, foundations and individuals. Funds for acquisitions and activities other than operations are provided by members and other contributors.

The Newark Museum is just a few steps from the new NJTransit Light Rail Washington Park Station. Direct connection with the Light Rail at the Broad Street Station and through Penn Station makes the Museum a convenient ride from all points in the  region.