Since the 1970’s Winterthur has opened its mansion for a peek at Christmas past [video]

Starting in the 1970s Winterthur Museum and Gardens began offering holiday tours, Yuletide has since become a holiday tradition.

Tours of the museum were so successful the director of the museum opened up more nights for the tours. It has since become a holiday tradition.

From fancy glassware, to amazingly decorated Christmas trees, Yuletide has something for everyone. The little ones will enjoy the lights, ornaments, and old toys scattered under the Christmas trees. The adults will appreciate the beauty of the table settings, the cozy feeling of the rooms, and imagining what Christmas would have been like in the 30s and 40s.

Yuletide is a snap shot of life for the people that lived at the mansion, namely Francis du Pont, his wife Ruth and their two daughters. But more than that, it’s also a chance to look back further. “This year’s Yuletide tour we’re focusing on the mid 1800s,” said Deborah Harper, curator of education, visitor research and interpretation at Winterthur.

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There is something to catch your attention in every room, and all those objects were painstakingly researched, carefully moved, and meticulously placed in each room. “There can be 15 to 1600 hundred objects that were moving to set up one Yuletide tour,” Harper said.

From lighting to sound systems, to horticulturists and floral arrangers, Yuletide is an all hands on deck event, and it shows.

“It’s very much like a dance,” Harper said. “I’ve got all these people moving in different directions, carrying pretty precious stuff and they’ve got to keep on moving and get it done but they can’t crash.”

“It’s wonderful to see it all come together,” Harper said. Its also wonderful to walk through and talk about your own Christmas traditions, now or perhaps from when you were a child. Maybe you will find a few new ones along the tour. Harper encourages people to share the stories of their holidays.

“I really want them to say this was fabulous,” Harper said.

If you are planning on visiting Winterthur for Yuletide this year, it runs through January 8th, and don’t miss the newest piece of the collection this year. It’s a very special dollhouse, which of course also has a special story. We take you inside the house for a short tour in the video below. 

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