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  • Writer's picturePress Release

WINTER WONDERLAND: The Coleman Nursery Collection Celebrates 18th Season

Holiday Display Exhibition Kicks Off Friday, November 24th

Words and Images Courtesy of Portsmouth Museums.

Now in its 18th season at the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, Winter Wonderland: The Coleman Nursery display kicks off the holidays on Friday, November 24th at 12:00 p.m. through Sunday, December 31st with a collection of seasonal displays with animatronic dolls that have delighted Hampton Roads residents and beyond for generations.

Following a visit to the New York World’s Fair in 1964, Junie & Millie Lancaster experienced Walt Disney’s It’s a Small World and hatched a plan to bring visitors to Coleman’s plant nursery during the off-season. The following year, they purchased their first animatronic “Sleeping Santa” and placed it in the Nursery window. Visitors came from across the region and beyond to view with wonder at the display. In subsequent years, the collection grew. Coleman’s plant nursery changed hands over the years and eventually closed in 2004 due to the rise of big-box stores.

After the nursery closed, Portsmouth’s mayor and citizens grew concerned with the fate of Coleman’s Holiday Collection. In January 2004, the Portsmouth Museums Foundation began an earnest campaign to purchase the collection and keep it in Portsmouth for future generations. It opened in November 2004, at the Courthouse Galleries, now Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, where it continues, during the holiday season. Join family and friends to share in this holiday tradition that includes lights, visits with Santa, music, arts, and crafts, and more.

The cost of admission is $3 per person and children under two are free.

The Gallery Gift Shop will be open for holiday shopping at the same hours as the exhibition. On Museum Store Sunday, November 26th guests can purchase merchandise at a 25% discount (members) and a 15% discount (non-members). Some restrictions may apply.

The holiday hours for visitors to see the exhibition:

November 24 – December 31

Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Fridays & Saturdays; Noon-8:00 p.m.; and Sundays 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

To schedule a group tour call: 757-393-5258

For a list of additional events visit

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