Holidays at Beall-Dawson House and Los Angeles County Arboretum


I was in the middle of Weekly Museum Visits in both December 2010 and December 2011. December is a great time to visit historic house museums, because I enjoy seeing how these museums decorate for the holidays, reflecting the time period and culture of the people who once lived in these homes.

In 2011, I visited and blogged about four historic house museums during the winter holiday season: Tudor Place, Woodrow Wilson House, Heurich House Museum, and Homewood Museum.

I had not yet started this blog in December 2010, when I visited a historic house museum, Beall-Dawson House, which was decorated for Christmas. Another Weekly Museum Visit, to the Los Angeles County Arboretum, included viewing the Queen Anne Cottage from the outside and peering through the windows to see decked halls.

Beall-Dawson House, located in Rockville, Maryland, is the headquarters of the Montgomery County Historical Society. The organization’s blog, A Fine Collection, has detailed information about some of its Christmas and New Year’s Day objects, such as a handmade tree ornament, Christmas and New Year’s greeting cards, and a napkin ring that was given to a toddler as a Christmas gift.

Beall-Dawson House, December 2010

Beall-Dawson House, December 2010

Each year, MCHS chooses a different time period to inspire the decorations at Beall-Dawson House. When I visited, the house was traditionally decorated the way it would have been in the 1960s, with a Christmas tree in the corner, poinsettias by the fireplace, and wreathes on windows.

The Queen Anne Cottage at the Los Angeles County Arboretum allows visitors inside once a year for its holiday open house. When my family visited, we were able just to peek through the windows, where we saw festively trimmed trees in virtually every room, along with mannequins and dolls. One table held a punch bowl surrounded by apples and oranges.

What historic houses do you like to visit for beautiful holiday décor?

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December’s blog theme is There’s No Place Like Historic Homes for the Holidays!

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About Laura

Paralegal with Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education, frequent museum visitor, based in Washington, DC. I care about what museums can do, both in terms of public offerings and internal practices, to make the world a better place. I blog about museum education ("informed"), the social work of museums ("humane"), and visitor experience ("citizenry").
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