Join the Montana Historical Society for holiday cheer on Saturday, Dec. 10 for a full day of fun.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in our lobby at 225 No. Roberts in Helena, private collector Mike Smith will share 40 years of extraordinary Christmas treasure collecting.
The 1860s to 1910s were the golden age of Santa Claus, when the focus of Christmas festivities shifted toward the celebration of the joy and imagination of the years of childhood. A rising middle class of consumers and a spectacular new method of color printing called chromolithography launched beautifully illustrated children’s books, postcards, and colored pictures in periodicals, plus die-cut scraps for a decades-long craze of scrapbooking and Christmas ornaments construction.
One cherished but fragile object on display will be a large Santa Claus tree ornament composed of a scrap head, arms filled with toys, wearing a cotton batting skirt. On the back of the period frame is a note from the original owner in Superior, Montana, which says that the Santa ornament was purchased by her dad in 1903 and had been displayed on the family Christmas tree for 73 years. It was retired and framed with the hope it will see at least another 100-plus Christmases
Other highlights of the exhibit include Clement Moore’s 1822 poem, “A Visit of St. Nicholas” and Thomas Nast’s 1862-1886 images of Santa Claus for Harper’s periodicals, plus a copy of Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to the New York Sun at age 8 in 1897 and the immortal response by Francis Church, “Yes Virginia …”
Smith will be available to answer questions.
At noon, the Dolce Strings ensemble with its violins, cellos, and valiant viola players from the Music Makers Conservatory will perform for an hour. They’ll be followed at 1 p.m. by their younger group, the Treble Makers.
The Original Governor’s Mansion at 304 No. Ewing in Helena also will come alive from noon to 4 p.m. with the holiday season spirit. Experience the festive atmosphere of the Queen Anne style during self-guided tours, where volunteers will be stationed on each floor to answer any questions.
Please note that the historic mansion is not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, with stairs to the front porch and two flights of stairs inside the house.
For more information, contact Deb Mitchell at [email protected] or 406/444-4789.