Located in a historic home and operated by the Seneca County Historical Society, Seneca County Museum is inviting area residents and visitors to stop at 28 Clay St. during Victorian Christmas Weekend. Local volunteers have decorated the museum in a "silver bells" theme.
Members of the historical society and the museum docents have been hanging garlands, trimming trees and tying bows throughout the museum's rooms and halls. In the parlor, a 15-foot tree glitters with prisms, crystal angels, beads, icicles and twinkling white lights, decorated by Paula Crum. The mantle and other surfaces in the room also are trimmed in silver and crystal.
Members of the Blossoms and Butterflies Garden Club have made their own ornaments for a silver tree in the smaller front sitting room. The group transformed yogurt cups, tiny flower pots and artificial flowers into ornaments.
Francis Brose sprayed their creations with silver paint and glitter to coordinate with the theme. He, Douglas Bland, Wilma Klopp, Lenore Livingston and Shirley Tiell were doing the decorating Tuesday evening.
"We looked for silk flowers that were bell-shaped. ... when you turn them upside down, it makes a bell," Klopp said. "I've had some of these for years and years."
Donna Brose, Sue Hohman, Jan Magers and Julie Reinhart sang "Silver Bells" as they worked on the Gadabouts Red Hatters' tree in the War Room at the museum.
They had fashioned "silver belles" by starting with small, silver-haired dolls and adding crocheted skirts or dresses made from silver doilies, lace and ribbons. All have red and/or purple hats adorned with feathers and trims.
"We made about 100 of them. We started last January or February," Brose said.
Tonia Hoffert, museum director and president of the historical society, said she brought out many decorations that were used in past years. She tries to decide on the next theme at the close of the holiday season so decorators have time to buy or make what they will use for the room they select.
Hoffert said she has been pleased with the creativity volunteers have shown.
"I like to see what they come up with when I tell them the theme," Hoffert said.
Long-time volunteer Brian Courtney added holiday color to the Junior Home Room on the second floor, using 1940s-style Christmas lights, letters to Santa from Junior Homekids, and Christmas song books.
Next door, the Pioneer Bedroom is decked out with colorful quilts, greens and dried flowers. Gingerbread and candy are hung in the toy room.
An exhibit of memorabilia from area ice cream stands, soda shops and dairies remains on display in The Frost Kalnow Room.
One of the glass rooms has become exhibit space for the artifacts salvaged from the Seneca County Courthouse time capsule. Hoffert also had door hinges, pieces of marble, moldings and other items that were removed from the courthouse a few years ago to add to the display.
"Some of these are things that people went up and got out of salvage and brought in. That flag is supposed to be the last one that flew at the courthouse," Hoffert said.
Courtney has located a collection of vintage photos and newspaper stories about the courthouse that are on view. The original courthouse that burned in 1877 is in one picture, while others show construction being done and the dedication of the 1884 building.
Hoffert also is inviting the public to bring in photos or clippings, from any period, for a special project.
"Anybody who has any photos of the life and time of the courthouse or events on the courthouse square, parades, anything that involved the courthouse, we want them to bring those in ... so we can make a DVD on the life of the courthouse," she said.
The museum is owned by Seneca County, but it is operated by volunteers. Admission to the museum is free, but donations are accepted.
For more information, call (419) 447-5955.