BARNESVILLE – Each year for the holiday season, the Belmont County Victorian Mansion Museum invites the public to tour the facility and discover the “Magic of Christmas”.
Tours are scheduled to start on November 27 and end on January 9.
For more than 30 years, the Belmont County Historical Society has organized tours for the holiday season. Last year was the exception, when they were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Historical society chairman Emery Stewart said the group was unable to open the museum at all last year.
“We are back now and look forward to a healthy and prosperous New Year”, he said.
The “Magic of Christmas visits” invite attendees to take a look back in time and see traditional holiday decorations believed to have been seen in the late 1800s. Stewart said the tour is for anyone interested in the history and exploration of ancient holiday traditions.
âPeople can go back 125 years and see Christmas on a perhaps less commercialized basis than it is today. Back then, Christmas was celebrated with a gift or two, the stockings were always full, and Santa Claus always came on Christmas Eve. It’s different from what we have today, âhe said. “It gives them a chance to see what it was like 125 years ago in an upper class Victorian mansion. â¦ It’s a chance for people to have the vacation experience of their grandparents.
Things will be slightly different this year – only the main level of the museum will be decorated with traditional holiday decorations, as opposed to the three floors. Stewart said this was done to limit exposure to COVID-19.
“It will still be decorated in the spectacular way it was done before, it just won’t be the entire three floors because of COVID,” he said. âThe first floor includes the living rooms, the dining room, the inglenook fireplace, the entrance, the kitchen and the growler, which was the men’s (recreation) room.â
Although only the first floor is decorated, Stewart said attendees are welcome to tour all 26 rooms in the museum. Decorations can make smaller rooms on upper levels more cramped.
Tours will begin from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on November 27 at the museum, located at 532 N. Chestnut St., Barnesville. Tours are open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday to Sunday until December 19. Visits will be by appointment only from December 21 to January 9. Those interested in making an appointment can call 740-425-1457. , 740-425-2228 or 740-695-0766. There is a small charge for the tour, or participants are welcome to make a donation.
Additionally, Victorian teas are scheduled for 11:30 am from December 3-4. The events are organized by Donna Clark. Stewart said organizers have had to cut back to just two tea dates this year due to COVID-19.
âWe don’t want to have to cut back but for the public good, and COVID isn’t much further than it was a year ago. It’s not that we want to discourage people from going out – we want them to come, we just want them to be safe and celebrate a Christmas that we couldn’t celebrate last year, â he added.
Over the past 10 years, said Stewart, he’s cooked hundreds of sugar plums for tours and tea dates. Sugar plums are a classic Victorian treat, he said.
The deadline for reservations for tea dates is December 1. Stewart recommends that interested parties call and reserve seats, and he said they tend to fill up quickly.
Masks are mandatory to enter the museum and will be available at the door.