On Friday, October 5, the Chestnut Hill Conservancy is presenting the second annual Night of Lights, an innovative public art exhibit that will transform Chestnut Hill’s commercial corridor into an interactive exhibit of local history and architecture. Many area shops and restaurants will be open late, inviting visitors to explore this shopping and dining destination as never before.

During this one evening, historical images and films from the Conservancy’s Archives will once again be projected through storefront windows and onto exterior walls, while neighboring buildings along Germantown Avenue will be illuminated with colored lights. Following the success of last year’s original concept, Night of Lights will expand with additional projection sites further across Germantown Avenue, and new interactive elements designed to immerse the visitor in the ongoing story of Chestnut Hill. Long-time business owners will become interpreters for the evening, sharing stories and engaging the community about their own history. Demonstrations by expert artisan stone masons, woodworkers, and metal smiths—many of them descendants of the artisans who built Chestnut Hill—will be featured alongside vintage cars, street musicians, and more.

Night of Lights was designed to showcase the Chestnut Hill Archives by bringing the collection out of the Conservancy’s headquarters and into the community’s vibrant historic commercial corridor. But the true magic trick of the evening was the reframing of space where the familiar became unfamiliar—the layers of light and history that temporarily transformed Germantown Avenue, stimulating visitors to share their own histories and observations. This year’s event will leverage that enthusiasm to add to the Conservancy’s collection and empower the public to be active participants in the interpretation of the community’s history.

Executive Director Lori Salganicoff says: “Night of Lights is a fabulously inspiring public event designed to literally illuminate and celebrate the community’s history. We heard so many wonderful stories during last year’s festival. This year’s Night of Lights incorporates some of those stories and finds new ways to welcome more.”

This street-long spectacular is organized in partnership with the Chestnut Hill Business District. A 7pm opening reception at the Water Tower (Ardleigh Street and Southampton Avenue) will kick off the event with a “Flip the Switch” ceremony to turn on the lights.

Sponsors include the Nottingham-Goodman Group of Merrill Lynch, Bowman Properties, Dennis Meyer Inc., Friends of the Wissahickon, the George Woodward Co., MIS Capital LLC, Philadelphia Water Department, Washington Investment Consultants, the Chestnut Hill Hotel and Market at the Fareway, Dantastic Food Styling, Kurtz Construction, Matthew Millan Architects, Inc., and Univest Bank.

About the Chestnut Hill Conservancy: The Chestnut Hill Conservancy, formerly the Chestnut Hill Historical Society, founded in 1967, is an educational center and advocate for the architecture, open space and social history of Chestnut Hill and surrounding communities. The Conservancy’s Archives hold over 21,000 photographs, maps, records, and historical documents.