Wolcott House Opens For Seasonal Tours Exhibiting The Décor Of Christmases Past

Many volunteers worked together to create the new Christmas exhibit at the Wolcott House Museum. Pictured are (from left) Kathy Dowd, Jayne O’Connor and Darlene Limmer. Not pictured are Mary Chwilkowski, Alicia Lipinski, Colleen Lehmann, Beth Carr, Marty Wendler, Mike Niebauer and the Maumee Garden Club.

BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — It’s Christmastime at the Wolcott House Museum and volunteers are paying homage to the displays of Christmases past with a Dickens-inspired exhibit.

Volunteers have decorated the historic home using artifacts and items from previous years, and it is now open for tours on Saturdays through December 16.

“I’m incorporating a good number of the Christmases we’ve done in the past into a culmination of where we are now,” said curator Kathy Dowd. “We’re honoring our volunteers with this and all the work they’ve done over the years.”

Before walking up the front steps, visitors will see the home adorned with festive greenery and other natural elements, courtesy of the Maumee Garden Club.

“When the garden club came in, we had a meeting with them and told them the basic theme and had a lot of stuff available, but they also brought their own little personal touch to it and it’s stunning,” curator Kathy Dowd said.

Dowd and several other volunteers, along with members of the Maumee Valley Historical Society board, also met in the weeks leading up to the Christmas tours.

Dowd drew inspiration from previous exhibits, even gathering information from former curator Marty Wendler, to choose this year’s theme.

“We’re dividing the house up into certain design themes. The basement will honor the country, more rustic feel,” Dowd said. “On the first floor, we’re tying in the rooms with how the Wolcotts would have potentially celebrated.”

While each space is unique, it all looks cohesive, Dowd said.

The garland and other small pieces of décor were laid out for volunteers to pull from when they decorated, making it match throughout the home. Then, small touches specific to each space were added.

“In the parlor, it’s a more feminine feel with natural items in ivory, white and pink,” Dowd said.

The room takes inspiration from how Mary Wells Wolcott would have used the space to entertain, including an area prepped for light tea. Pink feathers are also used to decorate the space.

In contrast with the pink feathers, the judge’s room across the hall uses pheasant feathers to add unique touches to the space along with richer jewel tones.

“I’m very excited about upstairs. Upstairs is about the symbolism in A Christmas Carol. There’s a ton of symbolism,” Dowd said.

Volunteers have pulled toys and small artifacts from previous exhibits to help highlight the symbolism.

“A lot of these items we use to decorate, we use from year to year, but the magic is they get new configurations each time,” Dowd said.

Putting away the previous exhibit and setting up the new exhibit is time-intensive, too.

“There’s a lot of things people don’t think about when they go to an exhibit. There’s a lot of elements that go into putting an exhibit together,” Dowd noted.

She spent weeks deciding on this year’s theme and writing up plans for each room, collecting photos for inspiration. Other volunteers helped gather supplies and noted what items the Maumee Valley Historical Society already had on hand.

Everything was pulled from storage and organized before returning unused items back to their bins.

Each volunteer used their own talents to organize, design and implement the plans.

“The volunteers are the ones that keep everything going. They’re the heart of it and we can always use more,” said site director Mike Niebauer.

Volunteers and visitors alike can find more information about the Wolcott House online at wolcotthouse.org.

Tours of the Christmas exhibit will be held every Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. through December 16. The Wolcott House is located at 1031 River Rd. in Maumee. Admission is free.

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