Annual Christmas Open House

Last week was a busy week at the Historical Society as the holiday season is in full swing.  On Wednesday afternoon the public was invited to join the Historical Society to view recent interviews of long-time residents of Indiana County conducted by students from IUP’s history department. It was a great afternoon as we got to experience what life was like during the first half of the 20th Century through individual stories.  These stories ranged from life in the coal towns, to time at the University, and military service. We would like to thank everyone who came out and shared the afternoon with us along with the students from IUP’s History Department who completed the interviews, and of course the residents of Indiana County who shared their memories.

community choir
IUP Community Choir

Then on Friday evening the Historical Society welcomed the community to celebrate the Christmas Season.  The weather was perfect, as the rain held off for most of the evening. The community came together to tour the festively decorated Clark House while enjoying holiday refreshments and to tour the museum. There were even gifts in the gift shop for people to do some holiday shopping for family and friends.  Our guests enjoyed holiday music provided by the IUP Community Choir, afterwards guests made their way to the Clark House for a holiday sing along around the piano in the parlor. If you were lucky you got to have a conversation with some historical figures, including Harry and Anna White who were in the Clark House. Thanks to all who came out to celebrate the season with us and to the Evergreen Garden Club for decorating the Clark House for the holiday season.

The whites
Harry and Anna White

As a reminder the Historical Society will be closed from December 22, 2018 through January 1, 2019. We will reopen on January 2, 2019. We are excited to see what the new year holds in store, stay tuned for future events such as programs and fundraisers, or just come in to visit the museum or do some family research in our library. Whatever the reason for your visit we can’t wait to see you at the Society. We wish everyone a happy holiday season and a happy new year.

Clark House2018
Clark House

A Victorian Christmas

Christmas is a festive time of year, here in Indiana we have It’s a Wonderful Life Christmas celebration which kicked off last month on November 17 with a parade, and there are festivities happening all month long.  Coming up on December 8, 2017 at 6:00 is the Historical Society’s Annual Christmas Open House, which the Clark House has been beautifully decorated by the Evergreen Garden Club. Refreshments will be served in the Clark House and at 7:00pm and 7:30pm there will be music played by two local groups in the Armory. This is a great chance to get into the holiday spirit.

The Clark House was built in 1869-1870, and that started a thought: What would have Christmas been like for the Clark family as they lived in the house? Technology was not advanced like it is today, there was not electric Christmas lights nor was there instant Christmas carols over the internet. A Victorian Era Christmas would have been much different than we experience it today.  One of the staple decorations in most people’s homes this time of year is the Christmas tree, although many of us have artificial trees, in the late 1800s these trees would have been real trees filling the home with the evergreen smell. Not only were the trees real, but they were elaborated decorated , this included fruit, garland, pine cones, and candles.

Clark House Christmas 2016

Many people pride themselves with their Christmas decorating, from elaborate outside light displays and unique indoor decorating; however in the Victorian Era, decorating was much more simple. People of all economic groups decorated for Christmas, but those decorations were limited to garland and foliage. This would include the trimmings of pine trees and mistletoe.

And finally what is Christmas without Santa…the jolly old elf from Clemment Moore’s poem “The Night Before Christmas.”  Santa has been a popular figure of Christmas, having different means for people all over the world; most countries and cultures have there own version of Santa. The Dutch have St. Nick, England Father Christmas, and the Germans have Kris Kringle.

The Historical Society has in its collection many vintage toys from bygone years along with beautiful displays featuring the history of Christmas in Indiana County. Be sure to stop by the museum, visit the Clark House and be transported back to a simpler time. We would like to thank the Evergreen Garden Club for their decorating of the Clark House, and for all the volunteers and staff members that make our Christmas Open House possible.  We hope to see you December 8, 2017 at 6:00 pm, and we wish everyone a joyous holiday season.

Event Happenings 2017

The year is almost over, however, the Society still has a few events taking place before the final days of 2017 run out. With the holidays now upon us it is time for family and friends. At this time of the year it is important to address closings since our schedule this year differs somewhat from that of last. Regardless it is going to be a busy conclusion to the year and we hope you can join us to be a part of that.

On November 16ththe Society will hold its final fundraiser of the year. We will be hosting a community night at Hoss’s. All you need to do to support the Society is you dine at the Hoss’s on Wayne Avenue on the above mentioned date and present a participation card which is available at the museum. At the conclusion of the day, the Society will get a portion of the total sales. This is a fantastic opportunity to support local history while also getting the chance to have some great food. Contact the Historical Society for additional cards or if you have any questions.

The Society looks to once again hold its annual Christmas Open House early next month on Friday December 8th. The Clark House will be beautifully decorated by the Evergreen Garden Club in the traditional Victorian style and the exterior will be aglow with seasonal lighting. There are two pieces of entertainment set up for that night. First, we have the Indiana Junior High School choir directed by Mrs. Ellen Werner at 7 p.m., and later on in the evening at 7:30 p.m. the Indiana Brass Band will perform traditional holiday tunes on historic brass instruments. As always there will be refreshments available and the museum will be open to tour. There is no admission cost and all are welcome for this wonderful holiday celebration.

Clark House Decorated for Christmas 2016

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching it is important to note museum hours surrounding the holiday. The Society will be closed the week of the 19th and will reopen its doors on Tuesday the 28th. This time off will allow staff and volunteers to spend time with their family and come back refreshed for the remainder of the year.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, the Society wishes you and your family a safe and happy holiday. We have much to be thankful for here at the Society: the dedicated volunteers, our fantastic Board, two wonderful historic buildings, the contributions of those that came before us, and let’s not forget our membership which enables the Society to continue to serve the community and preserve the past.

December 2016 Events at the Society

December seems to be a busy time of year with all the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, decorating and getting ready for Christmas.  December is also a busy time of year at the Indiana County Historical Society as well.

Join some of our volunteers on Saturday December 3 from 11-4 at the Indiana Mall at a booth that will be set up.  They will have Indiana County themed gift items for sale for those of you who are looking for Christmas gifts…or simply a gift for yourself. They will also have the ever popular Indiana County-Opoly game if you weren’t able to get your copy last year now is the time to get yours before they are gone.

Gift items

On December 9, join the Society as they celebrate the Christmas season at the Clark House and Armory. The event will run from 6-9 pm.  Bring your family and friends out to the Society and enjoy an old fashioned Victorian Christmas.  There will be two local choral groups to provide a nice selection of holiday music in the Armory.  Also join us in the beautifully decorated Clark House, thanks to the Evergreen Garden Club, for refreshments and mingle and tour the museum.  There may also be time for an old fashioned carol sing around the pump organ in the beautifully decorated parlor.

The Society is once again hosting the Indiana County Open Arts Exhibit. This yearly event is put on by the Indiana Art Association.  Please stop by the museum to see the paintings, glass work, jewelry, and photographs done by local artists, both professional and non-professional. You are even invited to vote for your favorite artwork!  Thanks to all those who were involved in the installation of the exhibit. It will be open during normal business hours, Tuesday-Friday 9am-4pm and Saturday 10-3. The show will last until January 7, 2017.

Indiana County Open Arts Exhibit 2016

Finally, the Society will be closed December 24 through January 2 so that our staff and volunteers can celebrate the holidays with their family and loved ones.

From everyone at the Historical Society we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and we hope to see you when you visit the museum.