From Our Happy Home

A drawing of a couple riding a sled through a snow covered forest
Courtesy of the Springfield Museums

This holiday season, as the days get colder and darker, join us for a program that will warm your heart and brighten your spirit! The National Portrait Gallery is partnering with its neighbors at the National Building Museum to offer From Our Happy Home, a craft event for families. The program will be offered on Saturday, December 16, from 1 to ­4 p.m. (National Portrait Gallery), and on Sunday, December 17, from 1 to 4 p.m. (National Building Museum).

From Our Happy Home takes its name from a poem by Louisa May Alcott of the same name:


From Our Happy Home

        From our happy home
        Through the world we roam
        One week in all the year,
        Making winter spring
        With the joy we bring,
        For Christmas-tide is here.

        Now the eastern star
        Shines from afar
        To light the poorest home;
        Hearts warmer grow,
        Gifts freely flow,
        For Christmas-tide has come.

        Now gay trees rise
        Before young eyes,
        Abloom with tempting cheer;
        Blithe voices sing,
        And blithe bells ring,
        For Christmas-tide is here.

        Oh, happy chime,
        Oh, blessed time,
        That draws us all so near!
        "Welcome, dear day,"
        All creatures say,
        For Christmas-tide is here.

Alcott’s poem takes us back to a time before central heating and fuzzy slippers, when people stayed warm by staying together. They celebrated the holidays alongside friends and family with books, lights, and music. This month we follow their example.

On Saturday, December 16, from 1 to 4 p.m., visitors can stop by the National Portrait Gallery to learn about Louisa May Alcott and how she and her Little Women heroines, the March sisters, celebrated family, togetherness, and the holiday spirit. We will read excerpts from Little Women in our Explore! space. Across the hallway in the Education Center visitors can make crafts reminiscent of winters past. Our friends from the National Building Museum will help families construct paper lanterns to brighten the dark winter months. Portrait Gallery educators will lead participants in a bookmaking workshop focused on recording holiday memories and creating gifts for loved ones.

On Sunday, December 17, from 1 to 4 p.m., the program will move down the street to the National Building Museum. Join educators from the National Portrait Gallery and the National Building Museum in the National Building Museum’s Great Hall for more Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, lanterns, bookmaking, and fun with friends and family.

Come get cozy and create beautiful crafts! We hope to see you on December 16 at the National Portrait Gallery or on December 17 at the National Building Museum as we learn how families past and present use light, literature, and good company to warm their hearts and homes.