Holiday Exhibition at Farm House Museum Opens November 5
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
The holidays come early this year to the Farm House Museum on Iowa State University’s central campus. Opening on November 5, 2012, is the exhibition Is There a Santa Claus? with Victorian style holiday décor.
About the Exhibition:
In 1897, Dr. Philip O'Hanlon, a coroner's assistant on Manhattan's Upper West Side, was asked by his then eight-year-old daughter, Virginia O'Hanlon (1889–1971), whether Santa Claus really existed. Virginia O'Hanlon had begun to doubt there was a Santa Claus, because her friends had told her that he did not exist.
Dr. O’Hanlon suggested she write to The Sun, a prominent New York City newspaper at the time, assuring her that "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." He unwittingly gave one of the paper's editors, Francis P. Church, an opportunity to rise above the child’s question, and address the philosophical issues behind it.
“Is there a Santa Clause” was the title of an editorial appearing in the September 21, 1897 edition of The Sun of New York. The editorial, which included the famous reply "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus", has become an indelible part of popular Christmas folklore in the United States.
Church was a war correspondent during the American Civil War, a time which saw great suffering and a corresponding lack of hope and faith in much of society. Although the paper ran the editorial in the seventh place on the editorial page, its message was very moving to many people who read it. More than a century later it remains the most reprinted editorial ever to run in any newspaper in the English language.
The exhibition, Is there a Santa Claus?, takes the visitor back to Virginia’s time - the late 1890s - with appropriate holiday decoration, an electrified holiday tree, classical images of Santa Claus by Thomas Nast, and toys and gifts of the era. Visitors will also delight in the 15 featured music boxes of the period, a recent gift to the permanent collection from Donald Larew.
An open house for the public will be Saturday and Sunday, November 10-11 from 1-4 p.m. each day and during Winterfest Week, November 26-30, from noon to 4 p.m. Details below. Events are free and open to the public.
Saturday & Sunday, November 10 & 11 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the Farm House Museum
Celebrate the beginning of the holiday season at the Farm House Museum. The Iowa State campus became electrified in 1884, just four years after the invention of the light bulb. Find out how lighting changed in the farm house over the years, and enjoy the display of Victorian music boxes – a recent gift to the permanent collection. Warm up with hot cider as you explore the first building on Iowa State’s campus. Parking available in campus lots not marked reserved 24 hrs, in the East Parking Deck, and the Memorial Union ramp.
Monday – Friday, November 26-30, Noon to 4:00 p.m. in the Farm House Museum, central campus
Visit the Farm House Museum this week of Winterfest on ISU campus and enjoy complementary hot cider and cookies. Explore the holiday themed exhibition “Is There a Santa Claus?” and learn about early electrification of lights on campus, music boxes and means of entertainment, and the imagery of Santa through the eyes of illustrator Thomas Nast.
Farm House Museum regular public hours are Monday through Friday, Noon to 4pm. Admission is free. Farm House Museum is located just north of Ross Hall on central ISU campus. Parking is available at the Memorial Union Ramp or East Parking Deck for a nominal fee.
For more information on University Museums, call 515-294-9500 or visit www.museums.iastate.edu.
Contributed by: University Museums
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