Holiday Open House Highlights Seasonal Traditions and Museum Milestones

Experience the wonder of the season during the annual Holiday Open House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 3 at the Chenango County Historical Society (CCHS), located at 45 Rexford St., Norwich.

“We look forward to hosting this beloved holiday tradition,” said Jessica Moquin, CCHS executive director. “Thanks to the continued generosity of Piaker & Lyons, this year’s festivities include a wide range of cultural, historic, and seasonal programming. The day features something for everyone!”

Back by popular demand, snowflake artist Jim Baldwin will be demonstrating his unique gift of creating whimsical paper designs. Baldwin’s “Fabulous Flakes” have become a long-standing tradition of the annual Holiday Open House.

In keeping with another Holiday Open House tradition, perennial favorite the “Parade of Trees” features both in-person and virtual viewing. Throughout the museum, local charitable organizations have decorated evergreen trees highlighting the culture, heritage, and history of Chenango County. Many tree themes are inspired by businesses, festivals, landmarks, and milestones that highlight memorable aspects of the county.

Using treats and toppings provided by the Cottage Bakery in Norwich, visitors can take inspiration from the festive holiday atmosphere and decorate seasonal cookies. This fun and free family-friendly activity offers the opportunity to make delicious culinary masterpieces.

Additional programming and activities during this year’s Holiday Open House feature museum milestones.

Earlier this year, CCHS had the opportunity to license the use of a digital image from the museum’s collection. A vintage postcard image is expected to appear in an upcoming episode of “Mysteries of the Abandoned: Hidden America” on the Discovery Channel. In keeping with this theme, Chenango County Historian Henry Drexler will present on “Abandoned in Chenango County” during the Holiday Open House.

“Abandonment of farms in Chenango County is not a new phenomenon,” said Drexler. “It has been going on, since the number of farms in the county peaked toward the end of the 19th century, and continues today. My presentation will consist of photographs I have taken documenting abandonment in communities throughout Chenango County.” The Holiday Open House will also debut Drexler’s newest painting: “Abandoned in Chenango County.”

In celebration of the museum’s Community Gallery exhibition, “Sixpence in Your Shoe: A Glimpse at Chenango County Wedding Traditions,” Bull Thistle Bridal will be hosting a “Pop Up Shop” during the Holiday Open House. Opening in July of this year in Oxford, Bull Thistle Bridal has become Chenango County’s “go-to” shop for discounted women’s formal wear.

“My husband Michael and I are lifelong residents of Chenango County and are very proud to welcome new clientele into the area,” said Bull Thistle Bridal Owner Karri Beckwith. “I have always felt that our area would benefit from a store that would give clients the opportunity to purchase the same dresses they would find at a high-end retail store yet at a very discounted price.”

Holiday Open House visitors will have the opportunity to view a vintage wedding gown from the Eaton family collection, which has recently undergone historic conservation thanks to an investment from a private donor. This rare example of wedding fashion in Chenango County, by designer Alice Maynard, will only be on exhibit this month, as the detailed craftsmanship and delicate textiles of the garment require meticulous preservation.

First established in 1939, CCHS is the primary organization dedicated to actively and comprehensively preserving the history of Chenango County. The area’s premier heritage museum, the organization celebrates the unique traditions, noteworthy residents, and unusual stories of the region. CCHS programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. “Abandoned in Chenango County” is made possible with public funds from the Statewide Community Regrants Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and administered by The Earlville Opera House.

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