by Leah Silverstein

On Friday, Oct. 4, the Chestnut Hill Conservancy is presenting the third annual Night of Lights. Designed to immerse visitors in the ongoing story of Chestnut Hill, this innovative public art exhibit will transform Germantown Avenue into an interactive exhibit of local history and architecture.

Using the commercial corridor as a canvas for sharing and interpreting multiple layers of neighborhood history, Night of Lights is a true participatory, community-based event, offering visitors and long-time residents a free and accessible opportunity to discover the history of the neighborhood, while becoming active participants in the stories being told.

Using Germantown Avenue as a canvas for sharing and interpreting multiple layers of neighborhood history, Night of Lights is a true participatory, community-based event, offering visitors and longtime residents a free and accessible opportunity to discover the history of the neighborhood, while becoming active participants in the stories being told.

For this one night only, historical images and films from the Conservancy’s Archives will be projected through storefront windows and onto exterior walls. Neighboring buildings along Germantown Avenue will be illuminated with colored lights, while longtime business owners will become interpreters for the evening, sharing stories and engaging the community about their own history. A one-of-a-kind approach to neighborhood history and community storytelling, Night of Lights aims to foster public appreciation and protection of the history and treasures that define the character of our community.

The Chestnut Hill and Wissahickon Archives hold the stories of Chestnut Hill and surrounding communities. Did you know the conservancy maintains a rapidly growing, professionally managed collection of more than 21,000 items documenting the community’s architectural and social history from the 1680s to the present? That it is available to the public for research purposes in person and online.

Night of Lights was created to showcase this amazing resource by bringing the collection out of the conservancy’s headquarters and into the community’s vibrant historic commercial corridor.

What do you treasure most about Chestnut Hill? Night of Lights is a celebration of our community – of your stories and experiences – and we want to hear from you. There will be a dedicated oral history station at the event where you can stop by and record your stories. Help us preserve the diverse stories of our neighborhood by sharing yours.

Sponsors include the Nottingham-Goodman Group of Merrill Lynch, Bowman Properties, Bryn Mawr Trust, Chestnut Hill Business District, Chestnut Hill College, Historic Foodways Society of the Delaware Valley, the Sivel Group, Dennis F. Meyer Inc., PURE Insurance, Regan Construction, Regan/Kline/Cross Architects, Shechtman Tree Care, Studio of Metropolitan Design, Tallulah & Bird, the Chestnut Hill Hotel and Market at the Fareway, the George Woodward Co., Team Whetzel of Kurfiss Sothebys International Realtors, Kurtz Construction and Matthew Millan Architects, Inc.

Leah Silverstein is director of operations and special projects for the Chestnut Hill Conservancy.

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