Celebrate Christmas frontier style in 1864
Travel back in time at the Sharlot Hall Museum after the courthouse lighting Saturday, Dec. 7, for the 24th annual Frontier Christmas Open House.
“Period ambiance will delight seasoned holiday visitors in Prescott, a community known since 1989 as Arizona’s Christmas City,” according to a news release from Ken Leja, museum media and marketing manager. "A gift to visitors and locals alike includes a wonderful array of entertainment and holiday fare to tempt one’s palate and immerse you in the holiday spirit.”
The festivities begin at 6 p.m. with traditional, period-style decorations as well as luminarias and lanterns throughout the grounds to brighten the evening as well as hot cider and holiday cookies served at the frontier mercantile, a roaring fire in the Sharlot Hall building and carolers on campus.
The season’s ambiance includes an old-fashioned Christmas tree, turn-of-the-century toys and holiday decorations along with period-costumed living interpreters who will have stories of Christmas past in the museum’s historic buildings such as Fort Misery, the Ranch House, the Frémont House and the Governor’s Mansion, which is the evening’s centerpiece and features living history interpreters decorating a territorial Christmas tree from Prescott’s earliest days. The interpreters will answer questions about the mansion, the creation of the Arizona Territory and the first holiday celebrations.
“Celebrating Christmas was just becoming popular in the 1860s, and most decorations were hand made, even on the East Coast. In Prescott, decorations consisted mostly of hand made presents for the children of the few families living in the area,” the release states. “The Mansion’s holiday tree will be decorated with ornaments taken from a description Sharlot Hall (herself) wrote, which was based on recollections of pioneers who had been a part of the community’s first celebrations in 1865.”
The Lawler Exhibit Building will have local groups performing traditional period music and sing-a-long Christmas carols, the West Gallery will present an opportunity to create vintage style ornaments and decorations and view a Christmas puppet play, the print shop will have old-fashioned holiday greeting cards and the Victorian Bashford House and museum store will be open until 8:30 p.m.
Sharlot Hall Museuem is located at 415 W. Gurley St., admission is $5 for adults and free for youth. For more information, visit www.sharlothallmuseum.org.