If you had a budget of $10 in the 1890s, what would be on your Christmas list? A $3.45 fiddle? 25 cent slippers? A $5.85 clock?
This year’s holiday tour at the Carroll County Farm Museum highlights objects from the museum’s collection that could have been purchased from the Sears & Roebuck Christmas Catalogue. Each room features items with 1890s sales tags and each room has a distinct theme.
“It’s really fantastic,” said Emma Wiess, who toured the museum after tea. “It brings back super memories thinking about my grandparents and myself as a young girl on the farm. The catalog was a dream book. When it came, you went through it page by page.”
Admission is $3 for adults and $10 for families. During the weekends of Dec. 2 and 3, 9 and 10 and 16 and 17 visitors can take the holiday tour, see artisans at work, do some free holiday crafts for kids and enjoy Sugar Plum Shoppe where light refreshments are $1. Free pictures with Santa are available Dec. 3, 9, 10, 16, and 17. A guided holiday tour is also available during the week for people who would like to come see the decorations without the additional activities.
“We’re trying to bring people to the museum that may not come here regularly,” explained curator Scott Holniker. “The catalog touched many people’s lives in different ways. I think it’s a great way for grandparents and parents to explain to their children how it affected them.”
“The catalog made a large impact on society as a whole,” added tea room manager Laura Rogers. “You could order anything you needed or wanted for work or pleasure and it could be shipped directly to your house. Nothing like that had ever happened before.”
Museum manager Joanne Weant said the holiday themes are planned three years in advance.
“Sears & Roebuck was interesting to us because there’s a whole generation of people that don’t remember anything before the Internet. Sears & Roebuck was the Amazon of its time,” Weant said. “The curatorial staff did a lot of research to present an exhibit people could relate to — no matter what holiday you celebrate, everyone buys gifts.”
Weant said the holiday tour is a “great museum tradition.”
“Families have been coming for generations,” Weant said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase the property and a very inexpensive way to create memories with families at this special time of year.”
If You Go
When: Until December 22. Santa Claus Visits: Noon to 4 p.m., Dec. 3, 9, 16, 17 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 10 and 16
Where: Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 South Center St., Westminster
Cost: $3 adults, $10 families