Glencoe Mansion to host Christmas history exhibit

The photo depicts what Christmas looked like for some families in the Victorian era. It is part of an exhibit examining Christmas traditions at the Glencoe Museum.

Christmas traditions may seem like they’ve been around for centuries, but most are less than 200 years old and many have yet to reach their century old mark. Glencoe Mansion, Museum & Gallery will host a month-long exhibit that looks at traditions across four time periods.

The display begins in the 1800s when the holiday was primarily an adult event and then moves to a Victorian Christmas when the majority of traditions, including the Christmas tree, began to take shape. In addition, the exhibit explores Christmas celebrations of the 1940s and 1970s when some of our most iconic songs and other symbols of Christmas became so important to our celebration.

According to Scott Gardner, executive director of Glencoe, the four periods also reflect important developments in the City of Radford. In the 1820s to 1840s important growth was underway in a section of land along the famous Wilderness trail (today Rock Road) that became known as Lovely Mount, the forerunner of today’s city. The next period, the 1880s and 1890s, was when Radford became a city and experienced major developments.

Visitors also will see the importance of the 1940s when the war and the Radford Arsenal transformed Radford almost overnight. The last era covered will be the 1970s that reflect the culmination of post-World War II prosperity with the city’s expansion and also the period when Radford College became coeducational and a university.

This exhibit is made possible by loaned objects from the Radford University Department of Design, Historic Smithfield, Ralph and Sarah Arthur, Sherrie Cullaty, Doug and Martha Gardner, Ron Kolenbrander, William (Billy) Simpkins, Joyce Sims and Linda Waggaman.

Decorating services are being provided by the Green Heron, New River Valley Rent-All and Vintage Vibe by Roxanne Miear.

Glencoe Mansion is the historic home of General Gabriel C. and Nannie Radford Wharton. It is a combination of house museum, history exhibits and art gallery open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. There is no admission charge. The exhibit runs now through Jan. 6.

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