The Finney County Historical Museum will celebrate the return of its annual open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The come and go gathering will feature seasonal snacks, live music, and the museum’s Christmas exhibit, featuring a mechanical diorama from Santa’s Workshop, dating from around 1950, which is both displayed years.
There will also be Christmas shopping opportunities in the museum store, as well as stalls with crafts and goods donated by a variety of visiting vendors. Additionally, free vintage car rides will be available and those who attend before or during the event will be able to purchase tickets for a porcelain Christmas raffle.
A group of volunteer singers will perform between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., singing traditional selections of the season for the fifth consecutive year.
Among the shopping opportunities in the museum shop, which is open at the same time as the exhibitions and during the open day, are long and short-sleeved t-shirts that reproduce images of sugar bags from the old factory of Garden City Sugar which operated from 1906 to 1955; as well as two styles of Garden City Big Pool commemorative shirts. Other items include gifts and keepsakes related to local and regional history and culture, items specific to Garden City and Kansas, toys inspired by the past, and a selection of books by local and regional authors on regional and historical subjects.
The Finney County Historical Society’s 2022 Finney County Historical Calendar will also be on sale during Open House, featuring scenes from the U.S. Army Air Force base that operated locally during World War II.
Several of the visiting vendors are returning from the museum’s summer season flea market festival and their stands will be set up in the museum’s meeting room and in the adjacent hallway. Entrance to the open house will be available through the main and north gates.
The vintage car rides, popular each year at the event, are expected to include a selection of vehicles dating as far back as the 1940s.
The raffle, with tickets for $ 5 each or five for $ 20, includes a chance to win four five-piece covers of vintage American Christmas Tree porcelain donated by former Garden City resident Alan Riedel.
Christmas diorama exhibited in the gallery of the front door of the museum will be flanked by an exhibition of “uniform” Santa worn in recent decades by several local residents who represented Saint-Nicolas and Mrs. Claus.
The diorama itself, which has undergone repairs, is three feet high and seven feet wide. Originally built by Gregory Motors of Brooklyn, NY circa 1950, it features seven moving figures including Santa and his elves as they prepare toys and gifts for delivery around the world. It was discovered in early 2015 in a dirty and damaged former Windsor Hotel coal storage area and was donated to the Historical Society by the Finney County Preservation Alliance through the efforts of the late Don Harness.
Local craftsman, carpenter and toy collector Tom Herman volunteered 50 to 60 hours cleaning, repairing and refining the three-dimensional display. Some Garden City residents remember seeing the exhibit at Garnand Furniture many Christmas seasons ago, when the store occupied much of the ground floor of the 19th-century hotel.
The museum located at 403 S. Fourth St. in Finnup Park Garden City, next to the pedestrian arches at Lee Richardson Zoo. Admission is free and regular exhibit viewing hours during the winter season are 1 to 5 pm seven days a week.