Franklin County Visitors Bureau Invites The Public To Catch The Holiday Spirit at Allison Antrim Museum

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Franklin County Visitors Bureau recommends Allison Antrim Museum’s Christmas Open House on December 4.

The museum house at Allison Antrim is decorated as it would have been when it was built during the 1860s.

December’s special rotating exhibit this year is crèches, from the extensive collection of Clarisse “Kitsie” Hicks, Greencastle. Hick’s collection now numbers more than 100, acquired from numerous trips abroad.

Allison Antrim Museum is holding a holiday open house on Friday, December 4, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. It is also the first evening of Heritage Christmas in Greencastle, the annual 3-weekend Christmas celebration in downtown Greencastle, PA.

Allison-Antrim Museum welcomes Bill and Joyce Weaver, of Hagerstown, MD, who will play Celtic music from the 18th and 19th centuries in the parlor the museum house. Antrim Township and Greencastle were settled by the Scots-Irish, and the Weavers will share the history behind their musical selections. Bill plays the fiddle and Joyce the recorder.

Between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm on Friday evening, December 4, Nancy Smith and sons Waylon and Kyle of the Garden Smiths, Inc., 262 North Carlisle Street, will demonstrate how to use fresh greens for holiday decorating. Demonstrations will be held in the center bays of Cumberland Valley bank barn's upper level. Arrangements will be given away. Also, there is a special AAMI fundraiser raffle – a sparkly holiday creation by Nancy Smith. Raffle tickets are $1 each or six for $5. Tickets will only be sold on Friday evening, December 4, and the winner must be present to win. The winning ticket will be drawn at 8:00 pm.

Find out how ancestors of the mid-1800s would have celebrated Christmas. Visit the historic 1860 museum house which will be decorated as homes would have been during the mid-Victorian period. Della Robbia fruit arrangements in the Victorian concrete urns and transom of the front door will welcome guests. Roping on the banister, fresh magnolia and boxwood greens, and an old-fashioned cedar tree decorated with dried fruit, gilded walnuts, Marzipan fruit candies, gingerbread cookies, antique candle holders, and Civil War flags will take visitors back to a much simpler time. The epergne on the hall table, which was used in the McLaughlin Hotel (the former Antrim House) for their guests during the first half of the 20th century, will be used in a traditional way to display fruit. Bonnie Shockey, president of the museum, will be dressed in Civil War period attire, as the lady of the house Martha Irwin may have been in 1860. A 1800s one-horse sleigh, made in Mercersburg, will be displayed on the kitchen porch.

The dining room, parlors, and master bedroom are furnished with period donations and the floors are covered with oriental rugs, also donations to AAMI. Upstairs, in the children’s room, the boyhood toys of James H. Craig Jr., from the 1930s, will be displayed. Also, in the children’s room are the late 19th century toys that belonged to the Carl family, of Carl’s Drug Store. The Carl family toys are made of tin, wood, cardboard, papier-mâché, and plaster of Paris. Light refreshments will be served to museum visitors in both the house and barn.

December’s special rotating exhibit this year is crèches, from the extensive collection of Clarisse “Kitsie” Hicks, Greencastle. Hick’s collection now numbers more than 100, acquired from numerous trips abroad. Most are handmade by artisans from many countries around the world. The collection started with her childhood set from the 1940's.

St. Francis of Assisi is credited with having started the nativity scene in Italy, about 1223 AD using live models and animals. By the 16th century, crèches using figures became a widespread custom in France and then spread to other European Countries. In whatever time or culture the crèches were created, they provided a way for humans to experience and know the mystery of the birth of the Son of God. The exhibit of crèches will be displayed in the South Exhibit Bay in the German bank barn. The exhibit will open Friday, December 4 and close on December 24.

Allison-Antrim Museum has new open house hours. Beginning December 1, 2015 the museum will be open regularly Tuesday through Friday, from noon to 4 pm, and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, please visit the museum's website at, Facebook, and on Twitter @greencastlemuzm, or call 717-597-9010. There is no charge for admission but donations are accepted.

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites all to explore Franklin County PA and enjoy the trails of history, arts and architecture, recreation, natural beauty, fresh foods and the warm hospitality of communities like Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro. Franklin County PA is located just north of the Mason Dixon Line and is an easy drive to Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Discover more....plan a visit soon at or by contacting 866.646.8060.

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Janet Pollard

Lauren Cappuccio
Ben Franklin
since: 04/2013
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