Holiday Object Highlight

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Porcelain Doll

Guest Blogger: Catherine Davenport Flowers, Curatorial Assistant
As a graduate assistant at Historic Columbia, I have grown attached to a trove of old treasures. I recently lifted one object out of its case for our holiday exhibit: a doll whose delicate frame has somehow managed to stand the test of time. Her dark hair and rosy cheeks remind us that the houses of the past were home not just to adults, but also to children. Their story is as much a part of our history as that of their parents.
Maybe you received a porcelain doll growing up, only to be exhorted by your mother to handle it gingerly. Today, these fragile things are meant more for admiring than for playing. But this German figurine made in the mid-1800s has a more durable construction. In the 19th century, only a doll’s head was porcelain; the body was made of cloth stuffed with sawdust, resin, or cotton. The composition made the doll lightweight and sturdy in small hands.
The doll in our collection is a precursor to Barbie and other fashion dolls that would evolve well into the 20th century. She came bundled with a wooden trunk containing another gown, tiny socks, shoes, and a straw hat. Dolls also presented an opportunity for girls to hone their needlework skills by sewing new garments for the toys from spare fabric. In changing outfits, young girls of means used the doll to embody their own understandings of womanhood and refinement.
If the 19th century doll in our collections has lasted over a century, perhaps yours is still around somewhere, too—waiting someday to be treasured.
You can see this porcelain doll and other Christmas gifts of times gone by at Historic Columbia’s Hampton-Preston Mansion and Robert Mills House, decorated for the holidays until December 31. For images of the houses decorated for the season, CLICK HERE.

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Gee, Do They Still Make Aluminum Christmas Trees?

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IMG_5970 Nope, but we found one!

Urban legend has it that the popularity of aluminum trees like this one declined sharply after the 1965 Charlie Brown Christmas Special. In the cartoon, he picks a scrawny but natural tree instead of Lucy’s preference for “the biggest aluminum tree you can find.”  The natural tree leads to Charlie Brown re-discovering the true meaning of Christmas. Once Linus’ blanket was thrown around the base of that needle-dropping pine, the aluminum Christmas tree was doomed.

This glittering survivor, and the suitcase, reminds us that the Hampton-Preston mansion was once a hotel for tourists. At the height of the aluminum Christmas tree fad in the late 1950s and mid-1960s, there were over thirty manufacturers of silver trees in the United States. This tree, made by the Peco Company in Austell, Georgia, had never been opened or used before it was donated to Historic Columbia in 2013.

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HC Kicks Off Holiday Week with Candlelight Tours & Breakfast with Santa

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The holidays are getting closer, and Historic Columbia is ready to help you kick off the holiday week with festive fun for the whole family.

Join Historic Columbia for its annual Candlelight Tours and Carriage Rides on Friday, December 19. Beginning at 6 pm, visitors can explore the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion and Mann-Simons Site by candlelight. HC’s historic house museums are decorated for the season and give a glimpse into the holiday traditions of Columbians from 1825 to 1900. Candlelight Tours are free for HC members, $12 for adults and $8 for youth. Reservations are not required for the tours, and the last tour starts at 8:30 pm.

On Saturday, December 20, Santa Claus will take a break from his preparations and visit the Robert Mills Carriage House for a holiday treat to remember at Breakfast with Santa. From 8 to 11 am, enjoy a continental breakfast while listening to seasonal music. After your meal, take a tour through the decorated halls of the Hampton-Preston Mansion, see a Victorian Christmas tree, make a holiday craft to take home and take a picture with HC’s Victorian Santa Claus. Breakfast with Santa is $10 for HC member adults, $3 for member youth, $12 for non-member adults, $4 for non-member youth and free for all children 3 and under, and reservations are required.

While Santa has been gathering lists, the elves in the Gift Shop at Robert Mills have also been hard at work providing great values. Visit the shop for holiday shopping deals and fun activities during both Candlelight Tours and Breakfast with Santa to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

For more information on holiday events or house tours, please visit historiccolumbia.org, call 803.252.1770 x 23 or email reservations@historiccolumbia.org.

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Enjoy the Holidays with HC’s Family Day & Choir Showcase!

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Choir Showcase
Enjoy a day of celebration with your family on December 6 at the Robert Mills House for Historic Columbia’s Historic Holidays Family Day and Choir Showcase!

Experience the holidays in the decorated Robert Mills House during Family Day from 10 am until noon. Learn how the Christmas tree appeared in South Carolina and how a South Carolinian made the poinsettia a well-known holiday decoration while enjoying crafts and activities for the whole family, and take home handmade ornaments to decorate your tree. Family Day is $6 for non-member youth and free for Historic Columbia members and all adults.

At noon, join HC in front of the Robert Mills House for the annual Choir Showcase featuring performances by local elementary school choirs. The participating schools include Watkins-Nance Elementary School, Bethel-Hanberry Elementary School and Conder Elementary School. The Choir Showcase is free and open to the public, and HC is offering $1 Holiday House Tours of the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion and Mann-Simons Site during the event.

Don’t forget to stop by the Gift Shop at Robert Mills for some holiday shopping during these events. Enjoy a storewide sale during these events and save 25% off your holiday purchases. There’s still time to register for the Candlelighting Holiday Box giveaway before the drawing during HC’s Candlelight Tours and Carriage Rides on December 19.

Keep your December jolly with HC’s special events and programs throughout the month:

For more information on holiday events or house tours, please call 803.252.1770 ext. 23 or email reservations@historiccolumbia.org.

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Celebrate the Holidays with Historic Columbia!

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HP Holiday Toys

The holiday season is nearly upon us, and Historic Columbia is pulling out all the stops. Starting Friday, November 21, see a variety of holiday decorations and traditions in the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion and Mann-Simons Site. Guides will provide stories of holidays past in Columbia and discuss how families decorated and entertained during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Historic Holiday Tours are free for HC members, $5 for youth and $8 for adults, and tours run through January 4 with special events and programs happening along the way:

  • Santa Signing. Saturday, Nov. 22. Visit the Gift Shop at Robert Mills for a storewide one-day sale of 30% off all holiday trim décor and gift items! Our Victorian Santa will visit from 1 to 3 p.m. to sign free coloring pages for the little ones and take photos. Families will be able to buy a Santa Key and Reindeer Treats to help Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve and enjoy cookies and drinks while shopping. During this free event, register for giveaways for a great holiday stocking packed with or for a beautiful holiday wreath for Mom or Dad.
  • Historic Holidays Family Day. Saturday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. Enjoy the holidays in the decorated Robert Mills House and learn about the history of several holiday traditions while enjoying holiday crafts and activities as a family. Family Day is free for adults and HC member youth and $6 for non-member youth.
  • Choir Showcase & $1 Tours. Saturday, Dec. 6 at noon. Local elementary schools will provide musical entertainment in front of the Robert Mills House for the community. This event is free and open to the public, and HC invites you to enjoy special $1 Historic Holiday Tours during the event.
  • Candlelight Tours & Carriage Rides. Friday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. Visit the decorated halls of our historic house museums on a guided candlelight tour. Enjoy musical entertainment and children’s activities while celebrating the holidays with HC. Before or after your house tour, enjoy a carriage ride through the Robert Mills historic district. Carriage rides are $5 per person, and tours are $12 for adults, $8 for youth and free for HC members.
  • Breakfast with Santa. Saturday, Dec. 20 at 8 a.m. Enjoy a continental breakfast in our cozy Carriage House while listening to seasonal music. After breakfast, take a festive tour through Hampton-Preston Mansion, see a Victorian Christmas tree and make a holiday craft. Don’t forget to get a picture with HC’s Victorian Santa Claus! Admission is $10 for HC member adults, $3 for HC member youth, $12 for non-member adults, $4 for non-member youth ages 4 to 12 and free for kids 3 and under.

For more information on these events or to reserve your spot, please call 803.252.1770 x 23 or email reservations@historiccolumbia.org.

Events aren’t the only way to celebrate with HC this season. Give a one-of-a-kind present and support Historic Columbia by shopping at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills; visit historiccolumbia.org to find more about upcoming sales and events.

Thinking about renting a Historic Columbia property for your event this winter? Schedule your event by November 30 and save 15%! For more information, contact Heather Bacon-Rogers at hbacon@historiccolumbia.org, and learn more about the properties available for rent at historiccolumbia.org.

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Candlelight Tours & Carriage Rides Shine a Light on Historic Holiday Spirit

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Join Historic Columbia for its annual Candlelight Tours and Carriage Rides on Friday, Dec. 20.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., visitors can explore the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion and Mann-Simons Site by candlelight. HC’s historic house museums are decorated for the season and give a glimpse into the holiday traditions of Columbians from 1825 to 1900.

During your visit to Historic Columbia, enjoy musical performances by Corner House at the Robert Mills House from 7 to 9 p.m. and by Jennifer Hill at the Hampton-Preston Mansion from 6 to 8 p.m. Before or after your house tour, take a carriage ride through the Robert Mills Historic District for only $5. Don’t forget to stop by the Gift Shop at Robert Mills for the holiday open house throughout the evening for a storewide sale as well as refreshments, holiday tunes and a chance for register for HC’s happy holiday gift basket giveaway!

Candlelight Tours are free for HC members, $8 for adults and $5 for youth. Reservations are not required, and the last tour starts at 9 p.m. For more information, call 803.252.1770 x 23 or email reservations@historiccolumbia.org.

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Santa’s Little Helpers Celebrate the Holidays at Historic Columbia’s Early Adventures

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Celebrate the holiday season with Historic Columbia’s Santa’s Little Helpers Early Adventures program. Children will play games, make holiday crafts and listen to stories in the decorated parlors of the Robert Mills House. Participants will also enjoy cookies, hot chocolate and a special visit from HC’s Victorian Santa Claus.

Perfect for daycares, birthday parties, schools, churches, clubs and learning centers, Historic Columbia’s Early Adventures program is designed for children from 3 – 8 years old. All programs include story time, games, crafts and snacks and an activity leader. Games and crafts will be chosen according to the participants’ age group, and each program lasts approximately 90 minutes, depending on the number of children.

Early Adventures: Santa’s Little Helpers is offered by appointment for groups of 10 or more until Monday, Dec. 23. The program is $6 per child, and reservations are required. For more information or to book a group, call 803.252.1770 ext. 23 or email reservations@historiccolumbia.org.

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Shop Historically this Holiday Season at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills

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Gift Shop Holiday 696x329

Visit the Gift Shop at Robert Mills on Black Friday for a historic start to your holiday shopping. Nestled in the shadow of the Robert Mills House at 1616 Blanding St., the Gift Shop at Robert Mills carries an array of distinctive specialty products that make gift giving easy.

Find Historic Columbia private label food products, handcrafted items from South Carolina artisans, books on local history, toys, seasonal trim, home accessories, jewelry and more at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills. Purchases are always tax-free, and the shop can special order items for your event as well as create unique and beautiful gift baskets. Support Historic Columbia while enjoying sales, savings and activities throughout this holiday season at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills.

  • Pre-Holiday Sale: Save 20 percent off your purchase for the entire month of November. Consignment items excluded.
  • Oyster Festival Open House: During the South Carolina Oyster Festival on Nov. 24, the Gift Shop will offer a 25 percent storewide discount and patrons will receive a thank you coupon for their next visit. Attendees who purchased festival tickets in advance will also receive a special discount offer to be used during the festival.
  • Members Sale: During the week of Thanksgiving from Nov. 26 – Nov. 30, HC thanks its members with a 30 percent off storewide sale, excluding consignment items.

The Gift Shop at Robert Mills is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Visit historiccolumbia.org to learn more about sales during Historic Columbia’s holiday events. For more information about the Gift Shop at Robert Mills or upcoming sales, please contact Gift Shop Manager Mitch Journey at 803.252.1770 ext. 25 or mjourney@historiccolumbia.org.

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Celebrate the Holidays with Historic Columbia!

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Holiday Banner 950x350The holiday season is nearly upon us, and Historic Columbia is pulling out all the stops. Starting Friday, Nov. 22, view a variety of holiday decorations and traditions in the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion and Mann-Simons Site. Guides will provide stories of holidays past in Columbia and discuss how families decorated and entertained during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Holiday house tours are free for HC members, $5 for youth and $8 for adults, and tours run through Jan. 5 with special events and programs happening along the way:

Family Day: Historic Holidays. Saturday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. Enjoy the holidays in the decorated Robert Mills House and learn about the history of several holiday traditions while enjoying holiday crafts and activities as a family. Family Day is free for HC members, $6 for the first child and $3 for each additional child.

Choir Showcase & $1 Tours. Saturday, Dec. 7 at noon. Local elementary schools will provide musical entertainment in front of the Robert Mills House for the community. This event is free and open to the public, and HC invites you to enjoy special $1 Holiday House Tours during the event.

Candlelight Tours & Carriage Rides. Friday, Dec. 20 at 5:30 p.m. Visit the decorated halls of our historic house museums on a guided candlelight tour. Enjoy musical entertainment and children’s activities while celebrating the holidays with HC. Before or after your house tour, enjoy a carriage ride through the Robert Mills historic district. Carriage rides are $5 per person, and tours are $8 for adults, $5 for youth and free for HC members.

Breakfast with Santa. Saturday, Dec. 21 at 8 a.m. Enjoy a continental breakfast in our cozy Carriage House while listening to seasonal music. After breakfast, take a festive tour through Hampton-Preston Mansion, see a Victorian Christmas tree and make a holiday craft. Don’t forget to get a picture with HC’s Victorian Santa Claus! Admission is $10 for HC member adults, $2 for HC member youth, $12 for non-member adults and $3 for non-member youth ages 4 to 12 and free for kids 3 and under.

For more information on these events or to reserve your spot, please call 803.252.1770 ext. 23 or email reservations@historiccolumbia.org.

Events aren’t the only way to celebrate with HC this season. Give a one-of-a-kind present and support Historic Columbia by shopping at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills; visit our website to find more about upcoming sales and events.

Thinking about renting a Historic Columbia property for your holiday party? Schedule your event by Nov. 30 and save 15 percent. For more information, contact Amy Kinard at akinard@historiccolumbia.org, and learn more about the properties available for rent at historiccolumbia.org.

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Holiday Basket and Ticket Giveaway! Enter Today

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Historic Columbia Foundation is giving away four tickets to our upcoming Candlelight Tours and Carriage Rides (12.20.12 or 12.21.12), plus a basket filled with holiday goodies, a total prize value of $75! One lucky winner and three guests of his or her choice will enjoy this annual holiday event. Enjoy the decorated halls of the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion or Mann-Simons Site on a guided candlelit tour and then take a carriage ride around the historic Robert Mills Neighborhood! Not to mention you will take home a holiday gift basket filled with goodies from the Gift Shop at Robert Mills.

Quick Entry Links: Enter via Facebook
Not on Facebook? Enter here instead.

Your four tickets are redeemable for the Candlelight Tours and Carriage Rides taking place at the Robert Mills House and Gardens, 1616 Blanding Street, from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 20 OR Friday, December 21. Winner will be announced on December 14. Basket and tickets must be picked up at the Seibels House (1601 Richland Street) by 5 p.m. on 12/19/2012 to ensure you can enjoy the holiday event! Thanks for your entry and good luck!

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