“Space Age Christmas” Mansion-Wide Exhibit Opens


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Fenton History Center

Aluminum Christmas trees, moon and star themed Christmas tree bulbs, odd shaped Christmas tree bulbs, bubble lights, all are from the space age.

What do you remember from that time period? What excited you about the space race? This year’s 38th annual holiday exhibit, Space Age Christmas, reminds visitors, or teaches visitors about that exciting time in our nation’s history. Visitors will learn about early television’s connection to the space age, and many other inventions that were made possible because of the huge scientific and technological leaps that were made during the 1950s and 1960s.

limg_4686_tonemapped-copyThis year’s exhibit also features the Santa Claus of the 1950s as well as the evolution of Santa from around the world. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will greet you in the Chautauqua Lake room that has been transformed into a holiday wonderland of aluminum trees, toys, and nostalgia. The rest of the 4-story Civil War era mansion is filled with decorated trees from the Victorian era, and years past. The favorite tree is the upside down tree in Mrs. Fenton’s sewing room. The Swedish Heritage room has one of the oldest Swedish Juskrona in the eastern United States. The exhibit also teaches about the holiday in the Italian community as well as Hannukah, Los Posados, Three Kings and Kwanzaa. The main sponsor this year is the Reginald and Elizabeth Lenna Foundation.

A Members and Friends Preview of the exhibit will be held Tuesday, November 22 from 4 to 6 PM. All are invited to attend, memberships are available. The exhibit opens Black Friday, November 25 and is up through Doors Open Jamestown on January 21, 2017.

Many elementary classrooms have booked holiday tours of the exhibit. Education Coordinator and exhibit designer Sara Reale says, “The exhibit meets a number of the NY State social studies curriculum standards for the elementary grades. Kwanzaa, Hanukah and the celebration of the Three Kings are part of the exhibit. It is a fun field trip for the classes. They seem to really enjoy the size of the Mansion and the beauty of the exhibits.”

Why let the children have all the fun? New this year is “Meet the Fentons: Christmas 1865”. It is a tour and a play in one. Visitors will learn about the 1865 world of the Fenton family. The tours are Friday evenings, November 25 through December 16 at 6 PM and 7:30 PM. The cost is $10 for Fenton members and $15 for non-members, children are $5 with a limit of two children per adult. Memberships are available prior to the tour start. The Mansion is not handicapped accessible. The tours are open to all and reservations are suggested. The Fenton History Center is located at 67 Washington St, just south of the Washington Street Bridge past the Forest Ave. traffic light. The museum is open year-round Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM. For more information visit www.fentonhistorycenter.org or call 716-664-6256.