This holiday season, three esteemed historical institutions welcome the general public to experience Victorian Christmas Celebrations in unique style. The Blair, Cambria, and Centre County Historical Societies—each of which operate local historic house museums—are partnering to host colorful yuletide events at their respective sites in Altoona, State College, and Ebensburg.
Visitors who visit all three county historical societies the weekend of December 2-4 and get a Holiday Passport stamped will receive a free one year membership to all three organizations. (See the image below.)
The Baker Mansion History Museum in Altoona, home of the Blair County Historical Society, will be hosting Heritage Holiday Tours December 2-3, 9-10, and 16-17, 2016 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $7 per person. The historic 1840s home will feature period appropriate decorations emblematic of the Victorian era. Visitors will be welcomed to free refreshments and photographs with Santa amidst the society’s new exhibit space on Altoona’s iconic Gable’s Department Store. Guests will also be able to browse new exhibits and orientation films as seasonal music graces the historic hallways. In addition, the site’s new museum shop will be open with an abundance of gifts and local specialty items for history buffs. The mansion is located at 3419 Oak Lane in Altoona. Call 814-942-3916 or visit www.blairhistory.org for more information.
Meanwhile, join the Cambria County Historical Society for its two Holiday Open Houses and Gingerbread Contest for Kids. Rules and prizes for the Gingerbread Contest can be found at www.cambriacountyhistorical.com. Prizes are provided by Sheetz. The gingerbread exhibit will begin on Friday, December 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also on Friday will be an Evening Open House at the A. W. Buck House at 6:30 p.m. following the downtown Tree Lighting ceremony in Kimball Park. Following the Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 3 the Holiday Open House (from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.) will feature a Woman’s Civil War group, a special toy exhibit, and a basket raffle at 2 p.m. For more information call 814-472-6674. Admission is free. The A. W. Buck House is located at 615 North Center Street in Ebensburg.
Finally, Join the Centre County Historical Society for their Stocking Stuffer Antiques, Art and Fine Craft Sale at Centre Furnace Mansion in State College. The event features the hand-crafted work of local artisans and fine antiques by local dealers creating a unique indoor showcase featuring over fifty vendors. The sale has unique gifts of all kinds available for purchase. Find regionally-made pottery, fine artwork, antique and vintage collectibles, jewelry, photography, holiday wreaths and arrangements, and a treasure trove of handmade crafts. Enjoy shopping in this festively decorated Victorian ambiance. The $5 admission includes hot cider and desserts. Proceeds benefit Centre County Historical Society. Hours are December 2-3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and December 4 from noon to 4 p.m. at 1001 East College Avenue in State College. Call 814-234-4779 or visit www.centrehistory.org for more information.
While the bulk of activities take place the first weekend in December, Baker Mansion will be open the first three weekends of the month on Friday and Saturday evenings. Other times for Centre Furnace tours are 1-4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Other hours for the Buck House are Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Fridays 10 a.m. to 4pm; Thursdays 1 p.m. to 8p.m.; and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The events seek to offer residents of the central Pennsylvania region the opportunity to explore local historic sites in the tri-county area.