Thursday 26 November to Sunday 20 December
The American Museum is well-known for its beautiful hand-crafted decorations in traditional Christmas colours of red, green, and white, which transport the colourful festivities of the New World to the Old. The centrepiece of the installation, a 17-foot Nordman Fir tree, covered in hundreds of sparkly lights, dominates the Central Hall. As a nod to the modern Christmas tradition of wearing a kitsch festive sweater, mini jumpers, all knitted and many designed by the Museum’s volunteers, will also cover the tree.
Most of the Museum’s Period Rooms pre-date the celebration of Christmas as we know it today, so the displays show winter activities that were popular at that time. For the build-up to the festive season, each room is transformed with special costumes, textiles, and floral arrangements. The residents of each Period Room will be pursuing activities that are typical winter traditions. In the Massachusetts Tavern, Mrs Conkey’s table is covered with food as she prepares her Thanksgiving feast - an important celebration for the early settlers. Elsewhere, a family warm itself with hot punch after a bracing winter sleigh ride.
Kate Hebert, Chief Curator at the Museum, commented, ‘As the days get colder, children look to the skies in the hope of snow. A good snowfall means no school and all the fun of sleigh rides and building snowmen. These Frosty figures have long been associated with winter and often adorn Christmas cards sending season’s greetings to loved ones. This year mini snowmen have crept into the Museum’s Period Rooms and hidden themselves away. Visitors of all ages have great fun trying to find them all and the hunt for the characters on our Christmas trail has become a tradition in itself for many of our regular visitors’.
The Christmas shops will be open throughout this period, including the famous Country Store with its collection of toys and craft items from the USA - and this year stitchers and crafters will be drawn to the colourful Kaffe Fassett boutique with its range of fabrics and books. The Selvedge Fair returns to the Museum on Saturday 12 December and on Saturday 28 November and Sunday 29 November the Museum is hosting a Christmas craft fair. Local craftspeople will be selling their unique handmade gifts, perfect for the festive season. Winter warming treats will be served in the Museum’s popular café.
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