Archive for November, 2009

What is “An American Christmas Story”?

Monday, November 30th, 2009

If you visit the Historical Society’s blog regularly, you might have noticed references to “An American Christmas Story.”  But what is it?

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An American Christmas Story is a new spin on a familiar Historical Society program.  letters tree detail 1Last year, under the direction of Office Manager Carrie Midura, the Society launched a “history-inspired” tree exhibit.  Carrie invited volunteers, members, and interested individuals and companies to be inspired by objects from the Historical Society’s collection and decorate a Christmas tree to accompany the objects.  With the amazing trees as a backdrop, we hosted a month of holiday programs that included children’s teas, theatrical performances, open houses, dinners, and more.  Over 1,000 people enjoyed our holiday programs in 2008.

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This year, our history-inspired trees have increased to fifteen beautifully….and mouse trap tree detail 1sometimes humorously….decorated trees installed throughout the Blanchard House.  The trees provide a colorful, entertaining, and, yes, educational backdrop for a month of special holiday programs.  Click here to visit our website to see all the fun programs put together by Carrie, Museum Educator Sarah Sycz, and members of our Life Long Learning Committee.

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Here are just a few of the programs that await you:

-         Holiday Happenings Open House, December 4, 6-9:00 pm

-         Parade of Party Fashions, December 8, 7-8:30 pm

-         American Girl Teas, December 10 and 17, 3:30-5:30 pm

-         Pajama Story Hour with Santa, December 21, 6:30-7:30 pm

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Alice tree detail 1And we have a special members’ tours and craft activities  scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays.  Learn more at our event calendar!

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Andover Stories

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Join us on Tuesday December 8th as actress and story-teller Susan Lenoe portrays Harriet Beecher Stowe. One of Andover’s most famous residents, Harriet will share her joy for the Christmas season including family traditions and fascinating facts about her holidays here in Andover.

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The presentation is part of a monthly educational series, Andover Stories: Presentations on interesting and obscure Andover history.  Talks by local historians, writers, authors presenting the people, traditions and events that make Andover a unique town.

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NEW DATE: December 8th 10:00 am- 11:00 am at 97 Main St.  Free and open to the public.

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Tastes & Treasures Success

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
The November Club provided a cozy, historic location for Tastes & Treasures

The November Club provided a cozy, historic location for Tastes & Treasures

On Saturday, November 21st, nearly 100 people gathered at the former November Club on Locke Street for the Historical Society’s annual Tastes & Treasures event. This year’s event had an exotic Spanish flair thanks to the superb tapas menu prepared by Sandrino’s Catering of North Andover. Fueled by the delicious food and Spanish wine and sherry pairings, bidding on both silent and live auction items was lively. $7,500 was raised to help the Society tell the unique stories of Andover.

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100 auction items were laid out on tables in the center of the hall. Hot silent auction items included restaurant gift certificates, beauty services, jewelry, vintage items, and performance tickets. Many thanks go out to all the businesses and individuals who donated items!

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Andover Selectman and auctioneer Ted Teichert working his magic.

Andover Selectman and auctioneer Ted Teichert working his magic.

Andover Selectman and Tastes & Treasures auctioneer Ted Teichert provided the evening’s best entertainment, joking with and sometimes cajoling bidders to continue bidding. A stunning fur-trimmed wool shawl donated by Dino’s Furs raised $200 and a traditional 19th century dinner cooked by the Executive Director and President of the Historical Society brought in $300. The capstone of the live auction was “Breakfast at Ford’s Coffee Shop” donated by Olivia and Spike Sintros. Not one, but two, breakfasts were auctioned off! Nearly $2,000 was raised through the live auction.

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Thank you to everyone who sponsored Tastes & Treasures, donated auction items, J Sellers P Sintros Ford's Coffee ShopL DeLucia P Lucy at bidder registration tablecame to event to bid on silent and live auction items!live auction 2

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Some holiday window dressing…

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

cvsphoto3Have you walked or driven past CVS in downtown Andover lately? Were you wondering why the items in the storefront window don’t look like items you could typical purchase inside? Well, thanks to generosity of CVS, the Historical Society has been able to take over the community window display through the holiday season.

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We may continue tweaking it just a bit – but we’re pretty pleased with the results! The left hand window highlights the many events and programs that will take place during December, from teddy bear teas to a parade of party fashions at Memorial Hall Library.

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cvsphotoYou’ll find an oversized banner with our new an American Christmas Story logo hanging front and center in the middle window panel. Thanks go out to Toni Harris-Hadad for donating her time and creative talents in designing the new logo – doesn’t it look great? Look closely and you’ll find presents, teddy bears, toys, treats, and tea – all nestled in the boughs of the tree. Very, very clever!

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In the third and final window you’ll see three decorated Christmas tree – and if you were one of the 1000 visitors to the Historical Society last December, you might recognize some of the ornaments! One of the trees recreates our boy’s toys tree which had been inspired by some antique wooden tops, toy soldiers & blocks from the Historical Society’s collection. cvsphoto2Be sure to take a look at the unique items used on all three trees… you might be able to search your old toy & craft boxes to use similar ideas at home!

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This year’s tree exhibit at the Historical Society will feature fourteen all-new trees with new inspirations pieces to match! We’re excited to have decorators from all over the community and look forward to sharing our exhibit and our programs with the public beginning on Tuesday, December 1st.

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More Trees coming soon!

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

pocket-tree-detailIt’s been a Christmas wonderland here at the Society during the past week! Tree decorators have been coming and going with boxes of trim, ornaments, toppers, and many other more unusual items for this year’s history-inspired exhibit.

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We’ll be placing the inspiration artifacts on display in the coming week and adding exhibit labels, and even creating a scavenger hunt to find objects hidden throughout the exhibited trees.

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Want to see them for yourself? Our Holiday programs will kick off on December 1st with the opening of the history-inspired tree exhibit and a special Andover Stories presentation by Susan Lenoe.  And that’s just the first day! December will be chock-full of special events, tea parties and programs and everyone is invited to join in the holiday fun.

sample christmas 2009-small..

an American Christmas Story

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december 1 to december 23 at the Andover Historical Society

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www.andoverhistorical.org/holiday or find us on facebook!

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Turkey Day Facts

Friday, November 20th, 2009
Andover Townsman Nov. 22, 1945

Andover Townsman Nov. 22, 1945

Andover Townsman Nov. 18, 1943
Andover Townsman Nov. 18, 1943

In 2009 Pilgrims, turkey, and pie equal Thanksgiving, but is this how the holiday really started? While it is true that the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoags did hold a harvest feast, this was not the beginning of the annual holiday we now celebrate, but just a one time harvest feast. In early colonial America thanksgivings were days of solemn prayer and worship much like the Sabbath. These thanksgivings could happen throughout the year and could be held for many reasons. Fall was a time of great harvest and it was not uncommon for thanksgivings to be held in autumn as a way to be thankful for the bounties of the harvest.

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As time went on autumnal harvest feasts grew and began to be combined with religious days of thanksgiving. By the mid-18th century a singular day of Thanksgiving was becoming more popular and was predominantly held in the autumn months from October to the end of December. These Thanksgiving days were often proclaimed a week prior to the actual day of Thanksgiving by the church, town, or local government. Thanksgiving by the mid-18th century was a day of prayer and church services as well as a day of feast and fun.

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Andover Stories

Friday, November 13th, 2009

turkey_13033_lgJoin us on Tuesday 17th at 10:00 am for our third installment of Andover Stories. This month’s presentation, “Thanksgiving in Andover:  Traditions and Meals that Brought Us Together”, will be presented by Gail Ralston.

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Join us as we explore the history of Thanksgiving from the first gathering in 1621 to the Commonwealth’s proclaiming of the holiday in 1828.  We will then look at how Andover celebrated in the late 1800s and how we’ve brought the holiday into modern times.  Recipes for a traditional Thanksgiving meal – both for an open hearth and a modern stove – will be provided, but if you have your own family favorite, bring a copy and we’ll make sure everyone in the group receives a set.  After all, sharing our bounty is what Thanksgiving is all about!

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The day in the life of a teenager in 1866

Friday, November 6th, 2009

53712_sleighride_lgThursday  Snowing very hard all day. I do hope we shall have some sleighing it seems such a green winter, no sleighing at all. The Abrams are licking each other in the rocking chair. They certainly [are] very handsome cats.

 

Friday 23rd   Snowed steadily till noon. Commenced to review in “Geography of the Heavens”

 

Saturday Very pleasant. Asked May Morton, Tarleton, Wallie to ride to Lawrence. When I got home Mother had taken the horse. I was so angry but at last she came back. We did not go to Lawrence but rode round town. Bates and Sammy had Kitty. Met Will Dale and dreamed of Will Smith all night.

 

Monday Went to Dancing School, learned the Lady Washingstons reel.

 

Tuesday School all day. Came home early to arrange the Parlors for the Sociable. Had a miserable time. Hattie Baker came up and stayed with me all night, went to bed after twelve.

 

It appears W. Dale did not strike Abby’s fancy for long as she is now dreaming of Will Smith!

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