Museum explores Christmases past

Over the river, and through the wood,

To grandfather's house we go;


The horse knows the way

To carry the sleigh,


Through the white and drifted snow.

By Lydia Maria Child

Was your grandfather's house a big brick farmhouse with lots of outbuildings and a few animals?

Was that where you spent your childhood Christmases? Do you remember the holidays with grandpa and grandma and all the aunts and uncles and cousins?

If this is the Christmas you remember long ago, you can relive that nostalgic feeling at the Carroll County Farm Museum's Christmas Holiday Memory Tour starting tomorrow.

" 'Christmas Memories -- Remember When' features the decorations meant to conjure up Christmas memories, the nostalgia of visiting grandma and grandpa for Christmas dinner," said Dottie Freeman, Farm Museum administrative marketing specialist.

"Everybody should see something that's reminiscent of a Christmas past. And we're hoping for a little snow to add to the atmosphere."

Besides the sights, the Farm Museum will feature the sounds and smells of the holiday, along with visits from Santa Claus. For tomorrow's opening, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., the Carroll Horn Quartet will perform from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Then the Bell Ringers of St. Mary's United Church of Christ will serenade visitors from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.


"We're going to have them playing from the stairway going upstairs so the sounds will float down over the room," Mrs. Freeman said.

For an idea of what Christmas was like in Westminster in days gone by, visit the museum from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday for a slide presentation on "Carroll Christmases Remembered," showing photos as far back as 1902.

The holiday spirit continues from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday with a concert by the Westminster High School Select Choral Group.

And for those wanting to start their own holiday traditions and memories, come to the "Creating a Holiday Memory" workshop at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. Dec. 5.

Rachelle Hurwitz, a member of the Farm Museum's board of governors, will discuss holiday traditions and creating your own memories, including creating your own special holiday picture.

Guided farmhouse tours include the smells of the season, courtesy of St. Mary's UCC ladies, who will offer homemade sweet treats and baked goods for sale.


"We'll have a board member who will ask children to come over and draw a picture and share their stories of their favorite Christmases with us," Mrs. Freeman said.

Special exhibits include "Playthings Past" in the bowfront china closet and a selection of holiday quilting squares sent in for the museum's annual contest in the showcase.

"We've also asked people to send in their favorite traditions or memories, and we'll hang them up for display," Mrs. Freeman said.

Santa will be in the broom shop from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, and possibly some evenings.

The General Store will be open, offering a variety of old-fashioned gifts. And the wagon master will be on hand (weekends only) to offer horse-drawn rides around the farm.

Don't forget to see the gingerbread house demonstration and buy poinsettias in the lobby.


The Holiday Memory Tour is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (until 8 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday) through Dec. 9.

Admission is $1.50 for adults over 18, 75 cents for children 6 to 18, and $1 for groups of 20 or more (reservation required). Season passes will be honored.

Information: 848-7775.