Glencairn DVD Released This Week

glencairndvd.jpgThe long-anticipated Glencairn DVD will go on sale for the first time at the Bryn Athyn Craft Sale on Friday, November 16th. If you know someone who loves Glencairn or New Church history, this DVD may be the perfect Christmas gift. Embracing the Sacred: The Story of Glencairn Museum, a visually-rich 30-minute documentary film, has been nearly four years in the making. It is the product of extensive research and some impressive camera work.

choppersm.jpgMany residents of Bryn Athyn will remember two days of filming back in May, 2005, when helicopters spent hours buzzing around Bryn Athyn’s historic district. The first day’s attempt was cancelled due to wind gusts. The second day the choppers came late, but captured some beautiful sunset shots. The last day of filming was sunny and clear.

rpplaster.jpgEmbracing the Sacred: The Story of Glencairn Museum DVD includes a 30-minute documentary film and three special features (see below for details). A 15-minute version of the documentary is also being produced to serve as an orientation video for visitors who tour Glencairn.

Text from the DVD cover (click here to see the cover in Adobe Acrobat format):

“Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, was founded as a religious community in the late 19th century by members of a Christian denomination known as the New Church. It is home to some of the area’s most remarkable architecture, buildings that reflect the religious faith and vision of Bryn Athyn’s earliest residents. Once the private home of the Raymond and Mildred Pitcairn family, Glencairn, now part of the Academy of the New Church, serves as a museum of religious art and history, honoring the spiritual traditions of people through the ages.

Embracing the Sacred: The Story of Glencairn Museum features spectacular aerial photography of Glencairn, Bryn Athyn Cathedral, and Cairnwood, rare archival footage, and historic photographs. This visually rich documentary film introduces the viewer to

  • The life of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) and the founding of the New Church
  • The establishment of the Academy’s schools and museum in the 1870s
  • The founding of Bryn Athyn in the 1890s
  • The design and construction of Glencairn (1928-1939) and Bryn Athyn Cathedral (dedicated in 1919)
  • The remarkable art collection assembled by Raymond Pitcairn (1885-1966) in the 1920s and 30s.

Special Features on the DVD:

  • An interview with Lachlan Pitcairn
  • The Glencairn Horns (a brass quintet drawn from members of the Philadelphia Orchestra)
  • Glencairn’s annual Medieval Faire”

Embracing the Sacred: The Story of Glencairn Museum has been extensively audience tested with the general public.

Comments from members of a local historical society:

“This video has deepened my understanding and knowledge of Bryn Athyn as well as the ‘New Church’ for which it was built and preserved.”

“Excellent documentary – presented the ‘church’ in a non-proselytizing and factual way.”

“I would enjoy returning to increase my personal awareness and knowledge of both the religious beliefs and individuals who have lived and still live in the community.”

“Great film. Well done. Outstanding photography. Overall, a most informative and inspirational story of the Pitcairns, their lives, their beliefs, their family values and their dedication to family, church, education and to their country.”

“Impressed with the dedication to craftsmanship – impressed with bringing religious beliefs into every facet of daily life.”

Embracing the Sacred: The Story of Glencairn Museum can be purchased for $9.95 at the Bryn Athyn Craft Sale (Friday, November 16, 8:30-10:30pm and Saturday, November 17, 10-3pm). After these dates the DVD will be available for purchase at Glencairn Museum ( or at the New Church Bookstore at Bryn Athyn Cathedral (267-502-4980, 900 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn, PA, 19009). A much wider distribution, including online marketing, is being planned.

Photo credits: The photograph of the helicopter during aerial filming for the Glencairn Museum documentary was taken by Ed Gyllenhaal, May 2005. The photograph of Raymond Pitcairn with a model of Glencairn is in the collection of the Glencairn Museum Archives.

Questions and comments may be addressed to the editors at

November 15, 2007 | Posted by: Ed and Kirsten Gyllenhaal in New Church History Fun Fact