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Carroll County Farm Museum decks the halls for 'Twelve Days' theme

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On the 10th day of Christmas, someone's true love gave them 10 lords a leaping.

At the Carroll County Farm Museum, in Westminster, that gift was a little bit challenging for Beverly Rose and Dorothy Duerr, who were tasked with displaying that scene in the dining room.

"Ten lords a leaping? How do you do that?" Rose asked rhetorically — before revealing a small tree decorated with fruit ... and 10 paper cutouts of lords a leaping.

"We thought it should be cheerful," added Duerr about the room's decorations, which feature festive garland and a table set for a Christmas Eve feast of turkey, soup, vegetables and more.

This year, as the Carroll County Farm Museum prepares for its Holiday Tours series, Dec. 5-16, the circa 1800s farmhouse has been dressed for the holidays to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

Each of the home's six rooms features two of the days, starting with the partridge in the pear tree and two turtle doves in the parlor.

"I think the theme is great," said Victoria Fowler, farm museum curator. "I'm always fascinated with what they come up with. It is sort of magical in the children's room."

In the children's bedroom, while a young girl sleeps in the bed, seven swans are swimming in the ceiling, their black web feet circling. Sitting below them, a maid is seen milking a cow.

"I can't believe the creativity these two have," said Luann Bradshaw, of Hampstead, who on Monday was assisting the volunteer designers, Meg Edleman and Cindy Hirshberger, with the bedroom preparations.

"I was so afraid the 'pond' was going to fall," admitted Hirshberger, of placing the elements on the ceiling. "We were laughing like fools."

Selected because it is the year 2012, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" tour will be open 12 days — a twist from the farm museum's traditional Friday-Sunday series of open house events for the holidays in years past.

Because of the schedule, the farm museum decided not to host another of its popular events, holiday teas, this year.

"We'll put on some specialty teas throughout the year," said Dottie Freeman, executive director of the museum. "Next holiday season, we'll go back to the teas. It is enjoyable."

Many of the decorators did research on the "Twelve Days of Christmas" to find the traditional meanings and possible variations on the theme.

Joanna Peregoy discovered that five golden rings may actually refer to ring-necked pheasants. By luck, she found a pheasant figure at the Goodwill store for the master bedroom.

In the study, Debbie Hann discovered that the song has its origins in France, though England adopted it, too. Four calling birds are really colly birds, or black birds, in England. So while she has various song birds throughout the room, Hann also added a blackbird pie.

Freeman is grateful for all of the volunteers, who decorated the house as well as all those who help throughout the year.

"Volunteers are an integral part of the Farm Museum," Freeman said. "They really do a great job."

Dozen Days

The Carroll County Farm Museum's Holiday Tour, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," runs Dec. 5-16. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-9, noon to 5 p.m.; and noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15-16. Admission is $2.50 for adults; ages 6 and under are free. The museum is at 500 S. Center St., Westminster.

Visitors are invited to test their memories to see if they can find all 12 gifts named in this holiday tune, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Music will filter through each room as an organist plays Christmas favorites. Weekend wagon rides will be available, weather permitting; and Santa can be found in the log cabin. For more information, call the museum office at 410 386-3880 or go to http://www.carrollcountyfarmmuseum.org.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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