Arms Family Museum Exhibits Memories of Christmas Past

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Memories of Christmas Past, the Arms Family Museum’s annual holiday spectacular, is in its ninth year at the 1905 mansion of Olive and Wilford Arms and home of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society. The seven period rooms of the Arms Family home are filled to the brim with rare, one-of-a-kind, vintage decorations that include ornaments, lighting, trees, and toys.

This year’s display features many pieces from the Historical Society’s collection as well as items on loan from private collectors.

The exhibit includes some special events:

  • Sean Posey will be on hand Sunday, Dec. 18, at 1 p.m. to sign copies of his book, Lost Youngstown.
  • Twilight Thursdays continue through December and on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, the museum stays open until 7 p.m.
  • Visitors on the weekends can make special ornaments in the Hands-On History Room.
  • Exhibit designer Anthony Worrellia will host a behind-the-scenes tour at on Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. (for reservations, call (330) 743-2589.

 Depictions of many different customs and traditions can be found in the historic period rooms of the museum. The reception room, for instance, features displays of woodland elves with red and white mushrooms. A prevalent icon in Christmas decorations, mushrooms were displayed on Christmas trees in Germany in honor of the people’s reverence for nature and in hope of good luck in the New Year. In the museum’s dining room, a large German candle pyramid sits on the table. These elaborate decorative pieces with spinning tiers unified the traditions of bringing evergreens into a home and lighting the home with candles.

Worrellia has taken a different approach in the museum’s sitting room this year, using historic patriotic artifacts mingled with Christmas decorations from the war era. A collection of wartime glass ornaments are displayed along with airplanes, ships, and toys, vintage patriotic clothing, 48-star flags and wartime Christmas cards and letters. “It’s a little bit different than what is usually displayed,” he explained. “It was a fitting time to highlight the commemoration of the Centennial of World War I, and I like how all the pieces ended up coming together.”

Visitors are welcome on the self-guided tour to make multiple passes through the period rooms as well as visit the second floor local history exhibits. The Anne Kilcawley Christmas Hands-On History Room will feature a patriotic Christmas with period artifacts, decorations and special weekend craft projects.

Sponsors of the event include the Anne Kilcawley Christman Foundation, WYSU, The Vindicator, Denise DeBartolo York, Virginia Dineen, C. Gilbert James Jr. ,HopeStar LLC, WFMJ, Mercy Health, Modern Office Supply, Tips to Toes and Boardman Printing.

Memories of Christmas Past is open through Jan. 8. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m., and noon to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. The museum is closed on Mondays, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

Admission for the exhibit is $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens; and $5 for children ages three to 18 (under three free). Proceeds from the event help fund the educational and exhibit programs sponsored by the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.  

Wick Avenue is under construction and is closed to through traffic. Local traffic can access the museum from the north at the intersection of Wick Avenue and the Madison Avenue expressway.

For more information, call 330 743 2589 or visit this website.

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