Ashbel Woodward house presents a Victorian Christmas

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Franklin - posted Thu., Dec. 13, 2012
A light fixture is all decked out for the holidays. Photos by Melanie Savage.
A light fixture is all decked out for the holidays. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Despite the chill and the drizzle outside, the Ashbel Woodward Museum was warm and inviting on Dec. 8, as volunteers invited visitors into the mulled cider-scented parlor for a Victorian Christmas tour. “We kind of came up with this idea with the Friends of the Museum to bring people in and make people more aware of the house,” said Judi Novosad, a member of the museum board.

In addition to Franklin Historical Society President Irene Morgan and Friends of the Museum members Jan DeCarolis and Sue Allen, Novosad was assisted by members of her family. Sons Zach, Evan and Matt were there to greet guests and to help with a number of crafts. There were cornucopias and decorated sugar cookies, both of which would have gone on the Christmas tree during the Victorian era, according to Novosad. There were also trimmings available for handmade Christmas cards. “Greeting cards were a tradition that started during the Victorian era,” said Novosad.

Among the items on display was a collection of Victorian-era Christmas-themed postcards. There were also a number of period toys, as well as several decorated Christmas trees. One tree showed off Victorian decor. Another featured reminders of more modern Christmases past. A Mrs. Beasley doll, a cast metal fire truck and an old wooden sled were among the items under this tree, which was decorated with old-fashioned bubble lights. “The doll was mine when I was a kid,” said Novosad.

The hope is that the tour will become a new holiday tradition. “We hope to build on the collection and make it bigger,” said Novosad.

“The Dr. Ashbel Woodward House Museum was the home of town physician Ashbel Woodward, a noted historian, antiquarian, Civil War veteran and author,” according to the town of Franklin website, which also says, “Woodward lived in Franklin between 1830 and 1885.  His home was acquired and restored by the Town of Franklin as a repository for collections and information relating to the history of Franklin and the surrounding area.”

The Woodward Museum is open on the first Saturday of each month, between March and December, from noon to 2 p.m. Or call Irene Morgan for a tour at 860-642-7036.

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