Christmas Exhibit Now Open At Fenton History Center

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JAMESTOWN – The holidays are in full swing at the Fenton History Center with a special display featuring the history of “Christmas at Santa’s Workshop.” 

“This year we’ve made our interpretation of the North Pole and Santa’s workshop. We learned about the history of Santa Claus and what his elves have been doing,” explains curator Victoria Parker.

The exhibit includes one of the earliest illustrations of Santa’s workshop from a magazine in 1873, along with a full-size recreation on display. There are also examples of how Santa has been portrayed throughout the years.

“The early memories of Santa Claus, it’s a lot of homemade toys,” said Parker. “The elves in the workshop, working away. Very similar to what mom and dad might’ve been able to build in their home workshop.”

The curator also touts the importance of storytelling to the wonder that surrounds Mr. Claus.

“A lot of the stories come from Saint Nicholas, who was a real saint in Italy,” mentions Parker. “And he is said to have helped a family with three daughters who didn’t have money for a dowry, so the daughters couldn’t get married. So Saint Nicholas threw a bag of gold over the fence, into the window, and they had money for the dowry for the first daughter to get married. The same thing happened to the second one , and when he went to give the money for the third daughter, he found all of the windows and doors locked up tight, and he threw the money down the chimney which made it into a stocking.”

The exhibit additionally incorporates Jamestown made products, like a baseball bat, and tools, as well as historically accurate decorations that the Fenton’s themselves may have enjoyed.

Parker also explained the correlation of greenery to life in the Christain tradition, which is why Evergreen’s are used to decorate for the holidays.

The holiday exhibit is open through January 6. This Friday the museum is hosting candlelight hours from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. when exhibits are lit by candlelight. Additionally, this Saturday there will be a holiday open house with activities, games for kids, goodie bags, and crafts.


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