LIVERMORE — The Washburn-Norlands Living History Center will open for a 19th-century interactive Christmas celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. The center is at 290 Norlands Road. Admission, which benefits the nonprofit museum, is $8, $4 for children under 12.
Activities will include 19th-century parlor games, storytelling and holiday readings from the past, children’s hands-on activities in the cozy Norlands kitchen, caroling around the antique piano in the ladies’ parlor in the mansion, a spelling bee in the one-room schoolhouse, jingle-bell wagon rides, fresh molasses cookies and mulled cider made on the woodstove, and the simply decorated Washburn mansion.
Visitors will have the opportunity to “meet” the youngest Washburn sibling, Caroline Washburn Holmes, who will tell about her father’s home and her famous family. Kerck Kelsey, Washburn descendant and family historian, will share stories about what life was like for artist Cadwallader Lincoln Washburn, grand-son of Israel and Martha Washburn. Cadwallader’s etchings are on display in the dining room.
If children hung their stocking for Christmas at all in 19th century rural Maine, it was the stocking that they wore. It could be hung in the kitchen or on their bed chamber door. Children might find an orange, a bunch of raisins or a simple toy in it on Christmas morning. Tree trimmings were simple and handmade as were the gifts which were not wrapped but rather hung on the tree for everyone to see. Gifts were simple: a felt pen wipe, a needle book, a pot holder, an apron or a book. Gifts for children might be a pair of mittens, a handmade doll or a pair of stockings.
The event has been organized by a group of dedicated Norlands volunteers who have been studying Livermore history and the lifestyles of people in the late 1800s. For more information call 897-4366 or visit www.norlands.org.