Students Enjoy an Antique Christmas
Junior Assisi Scholars explored Christmas traditions of the Victorian Age through the American 1950s at the Taft Museum’s Antique Christmas exhibit. Feather trees, blown glass, spun cotton ornaments, and toys of the Victorian era filled the museum. The history of the time period was evident in the transportation themed ornaments and décor that decorated many trees—zeppelins, hot-air balloons, and reindeer-drawn wagons dominated the turn- of- the century displays. These very expensive ornaments were only available to the wealthy of the time. From the 1920s through the 1950s, the emergence of plastics and inexpensive paper ornaments revealed how Christmas decorations were brought to the masses. The tour guides explained the history of the era in relation to the design, materials, and subject matter of the displays. Junior Assisi Scholar, Anna Perry said, “The house itself was absolutely stunning, and I felt I was able to learn a lot from our tour guide. It was interesting to learn about how Christmas customs we know today differ from those from the early 1900s. I had a lot of fun learning about how mere ornaments could imply one’s social class. It was, of course, fun to be with my friends.”
In addition to the Antique Christmas exhibit, the students learned about the history of the Taft museum and its owners who were financial, political, and social notables of Cincinnati. Housed in this grand home on Pike Street, the students viewed the works of many great artists—Rembrandt, Duveneck, Turner, and Goya. The Taft also houses exquisite Chinese porcelains. Supporting the information provided by the docents were Roger Bacon experts in history, art, and culture— Ms. Betsy Moore, Mrs. Kelly Reinbach, and Dr. Deborah Luebbe.