‘A Patriotic Christmas’: Hawkins House dresses up in red, white and blue

‘A Patriotic Christmas’: Hawkins House dresses up in red, white and blue
BECCA MARTIN-BROWN
bmartin@nwadg.com

At the turn of the 20th century, the Hawkins family would have been typical of the middle class in Rogers, and they would have spent the Christmas holidays in a traditional and family-oriented way.

Kids of all ages will be able to make patriotic ornaments for their own Christmas trees at a holiday open house Dec. 4 at Rogers Historical Museum. (Courtesy Photo/Rogers Historical Museum)

“For Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins and their two young children, Christmas Day would have been a time for the family to spend together,” says Serena Barnett, director of the Rogers Historical Museum, which encompasses the 1895 Hawkins House. “They would have adorned the parlor with a few decorations, including a living Christmas tree. The tree would have been decorated mostly using homemade ornaments, although the family might have also had a few store-bought glass ornaments for they were becoming more affordable.

“The children would have awoke on Christmas morning to see that Santa Claus had left gifts under the tree and a few small toys or trinkets — and possibly a juicy orange which would have been a seasonal treat — in their stockings,” she continues. “Each family member would most likely have received only a gift or two. For the children, this may have included a new shirt or dress — lovingly made by Mrs. Hawkins — and a new toy purchased at a local store or from a mail-order catalog. They might have gone to a Christmas church service and then come home for a modest roast turkey dinner with a few vegetable sides and a cake or pie for dessert.”

Whether the Hawkins family ever decorated their home in a patriotic theme is uncertain. But Barnett knows that “there are historical examples of Americans using symbols of patriotism in Christmas displays in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially during times of war. We thought it would be an interesting topic to feature for our historic Hawkins House holiday-themed tour this year.”

Each room of the house will feature “objects and/or decorations that reflect historical uses of patriotism during the Christmas season during the late Victorian era through World War I,” Barnett says, and tours will be offered Tuesday through Saturday Dec. 4-31. During the Holiday Open House on Dec. 4, “kids of all ages” will be able to make patriotic ornaments of their own.

“Just as the Victorians often made their own homemade ornaments to adorn their Christmas trees, our guests will have the opportunity to make two ornaments to take home,” explains Barnett. “Both ornaments have been inspired by our patriotic theme, one being a clear ball filled with glittering red, white and blue pom-poms. The other is a ‘Liberty Bell’ made from a terracotta pot with a small silver bell inside to help ring in the holiday season. Using red, white and blue paints, kids will be able to use their creativity to paint their own unique patriotic design on the bell.”

The day will also include an opportunity to write and mail letters to Santa and a visit from jolly old St. Nick himself.

Three generations of the Hawkins family lived in what is now called “the Hawkins House” until 1979, when the house became home to the Rogers Historical Museum. After the museum expanded in 1987, the house remained a part of the museum and it is open for tours during special seasonal events like “A Patriotic Christmas.”

A patriotic Santa adorns a Christmas tree in the Hawkins House, part of the Rogers Historical Museum. This year’s holiday theme is “A Patriotic Christmas,” and tours of the 1895 house begin Dec. 4. (Courtesy Photo/Rogers Historical Museum)

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FAQ

‘A Patriotic Christmas’

Holiday Open House

WHEN — 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 4

WHERE — Rogers Historical Museum, 313 S. Second St. in Rogers

COST — Free

INFO — 621-1154 or rogershistoricalmuseum.org

BONUS — Tours of the Hawkins House continue Dec. 4-31. Regular museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.

Categories: Family Friendly