Westmoreland Historical Society exhibit recalls Christmas memories
The Westmoreland Historical Society hopes visitors to its vacation exhibit in the Historic Education Center in historic Hanna will say, “I remember that!
“The special exhibit features artifacts and vignettes that will bring back fond Christmas memories from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s,” according to a statement, including vintage Christmas decorations, ornaments, toys, a kitchen scene from holiday, a fireplace with vintage stockings and maps and a great layout with a village, landscaping and mid-century Lionel trains.
“There is so much here that everyone will remember something,” said Joan DeRose, exhibition organizer.
From Saturday to January 9, “Christmas Memories” is the company’s Christmas gift to the community after a difficult year, said Company CEO Lisa Hays.
“It’s something joyful and nostalgic for the community,” she says.
The items featured are from the company’s collection and the personal collections of members and volunteers, said education coordinator Pam Curtin.
“The pieces are arranged in little vignettes set up to reflect the time period they are focused on,” she said. The vignettes are supplemented by old photos from the family collections of donors.
At the center of the exhibit is a full-scale mock-up of a Union Pacific train engine, car and van built in the 1920s by AR Bower, a machinist from south Greensburg. It was the centerpiece of the Westmoreland Museum of Art’s Yesteryear Model Train exhibit, which the historical society bought at auction, Hays said.
Model train enthusiast Dick Sheats of Ligonier provided a 1959 Lionel O track train for the exhibit, with a layout he said was designed to mirror one that a young owner would have installed at the time, with miniature cars and other touches of 1950s style..
Shirley McMarlin | Tribune review
Detail of a kitchen painting in the “Christmas Memories” exhibit in the Kendra Gallery of the Westmoreland Historical Society in the historic town of Hanna.
A corner kitchen vignette includes a Lorain Oven Heat Regulator gas range, which was “the Cadillac of stoves” in the 1920s, DeRose said. The stove is accompanied by old and antique kitchen utensils, crockery and decorative items.
“Some of them are from my kitchen and I still use them,” she added.
And, of course, there’s a Christmas tree adorned with glass ornaments and old-fashioned string lights.
Shirley McMarlin | Tribune review
A vintage Christmas tree ornament featured in the “Christmas Memories” exhibit in the Kendra Gallery of the Westmoreland Historical Society in the historic town of Hanna.
Additionally, starting November 28, visitors to the historic site at 809 Forbes Trail Road in Hempfield can take an outdoor, self-guided walking tour of the historic town of Hanna village. Interpretive signs placed along the trails near the log buildings will tell the story of Christmas in the 18th and 19th centuries, including the origins of the Christmas tree and Santa Claus.
Admission to “Christmas Memories” is free. Facial blankets, hand sanitization and temperature checks are required of visitors upon arrival.
The opening hours of the education center in November are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. In December, the center will be closed on Wednesdays; the other times remain the same.
Holiday closures include November 26, December 21 to 25, and December 31 to January 31. 1.