Top Menu

Festival of Trees and Traditions


44th Annual Festival of Trees & Traditions
December 1–10, 2017

Established in 1973 by the Women’s Committee as a museum fundraising event, Festival of Trees & Traditions has become an annual holiday custom for visitors from throughout the state and beyond. Every year community members, artists and organizations decorate holiday trees and wreaths to be displayed in the galleries throughout the week. All items are for sale, and profits help fund the museum’s special exhibitions, educational programs, and operating expenses. Purchase a tree or wreath for your home or donate it to a local charity.

Public hours for viewing the Festival of Trees & Traditions are 10am–5pm from December 1–10, except for Monday, December 4 and Tuesday, December 5 when the museum is closed.

Please note: The prices below reflect a $3 fundraising surcharge that is added to all museum admission prices during Festival of Trees & Traditions.

Members: $3
Hartford Residents: $3
Adults: $18
Seniors: $15
Students: $8
Youth (age 17 & under): $3

Please Note: The Wadsworth Atheneum usually waives admission fees every Wednesday–Sunday from 4–5 pm. Please note that guests visiting the museum at these times during the Festival of Trees & Traditions fundraiser will be charged $3 for their admission.

Groups of 10 or more will receive a discount by reservation only. To schedule a group visit, call (860) 838-4046.

Are you visiting the Wadsworth Atheneum for the first time, or returning after some time away? You’ll find lots of helpful information on our Directions & Parking page, and even more tips on our Planning Your Visit page.

Special Events

Thursday, November 30 | Night of Illumination

Saturday, December 9 | Second Saturdays for Families

Sounds of the Season

The Wadsworth Atheneum is proud to partner with five local performing arts institutions this year, who will help celebrate the Sounds of the Season with their own unique installations throughout the museum!

Hartford Stage celebrates the 20th anniversary of a beloved Hartford holiday favorite—A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas! Step inside the Dickens’ classic with a stroll along London’s Victorian streets as Hartford Stage pays homage to the ghosts of the past, present, and future.

In addition to performing excerpts from The Nutcracker at Night of Illumination, Connecticut Ballet will feature Nutcracker memorabilia and costumes at the museum during Festival of Trees & Traditions! A newly-designed original production poster and a collection of Nutcracker dolls—some as tall as 42″ high—will also be part of the presentation.

Hartford Symphonys display will evoke the holiday spirit through music. Twinkling lights, shimmering tinsel, and dazzling ornaments festoon a landscape of two trees, one traditional and one hand-crafted of musical instruments. Hartford Symphony’s Jazz quartet will perform swing tunes, old standards, and more timeless jazz classics to put everyone in the holiday spirit during Night of Illumination!

A point shoe tree standing seven feet high will be contributed by Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory, featuring point shoes—of course!—as well as Nutcracker-themed decorations.

TheaterWorks Rockin’ Christmas Tree is based on Hartford’s newest holiday tradition, Christmas on the Rocks. It’s Christmas Eve in a rundown local bar. Join your favorite kids from Christmas stories—all grown up, shaken, stirred and served with a twist.

Daily Entertainment

Click the thumbnails below to view the full schedule of daily musical and dance performances.




Weekend Family Fun

Santa & Mrs. Claus
Sunday, December 3, 10:30am–1:30pm
Saturday, December 9, 2–5pm
Sunday, December 10, 10:30am–1:30pm

Lego Demonstrations with ConnLUG – LEGO® Enthusiasts of Connecticut
Saturday, December 2 & Sunday, December 3, 2–4pm
Saturday, December 9 & Sunday, December 10, 2–4pm

Storytelling by Jim Harriman
Saturday, December 2, 1–1:30pm

Hartford Symphony Instrument Petting Zoo
Saturday, December 2, 11:30am–1:30pm

Holiday Decorating Demonstrations

Thomas Mach Interiors
Sunday, December 3, 11:30am & 1pm


If you are interested in designing and contributing a tree or wreath to Festival of Trees & Traditions, please review the contributor information sheet and contributor contract. For more information contact Jessica Martel, Development Events Associate.


Night of Illumination and Festival of Trees & Traditions are presented by the Women’s Committee of the Wadsworth Atheneum. All proceeds from this event fund the museum’s special exhibitions, educational programs, and operating expenses.

In-kind support is provided by: Thomas Mach Interiors, Moscarillo’s Garden & Floral, Woodland Gardens, ConnLUG – LEGO ® Enthusiasts of Connecticut, and Woodland Moving & Warehouse, Inc.

Thank you to Connecticut Ballet, Hartford Stage, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory, and TheaterWorks for generously contributing seasonal decor in celebration of the arts.