A New Traditional Museum Christmas

It’s December, which means it’s time for historic house museums (and the rest of us too) to drag out Christmas programming so old, even Jesus saw it. Here’s ours, which is a call for an entirely new kind of museum Christmas.

Peabody's Lament

Courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

The Christmas season is upon us again and we in early American house museums rejoice in its arrival. Though we spend the other eleven months of the year doggedly trying to “correct” people’s understanding of the past, Christmas relieves us of the tedium of authenticity.

Who wants to talk about the religious strife once engendered by Christmas? Or that most Protestants did not even recognize it, and some of those who did were belittled by “true” Protestants as secret Catholics. And that there were no decorations, no carols, or that, if recognized at all, it was spent in church. It wouldn’t make for a very merry museum Christmas.

So instead we cobble together a Christmas celebration which is part non-specific period decoration and part modern Christmas. We do it because the Christmas season is a month-long Black Friday for museums. Our…

View original post 139 more words

Advertisements

About T.H. Gray

T.H. Gray is the self-appointed court jester and Dr. Demento for the history museum field. A lifelong museum professional and reenactor, he is a graduate of the prestigious Peale-Barnum Public History Museum Studies Program. Until 2011, when the AHS hired him away, he was on staff at the Benjamin Dover Memorial Museum & Swimming Pool ("Our History is All Wet!"). He remembers when museums were still about history, science, and art. BTW, all of these posts say they are by T.H. Gray because he can't turn off the byline. Credit, when due, is given. View all posts by T.H. Gray

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: