SOUTHINGTON - Santa and Mrs. Claus made the long journey down from the North Pole Saturday to visit the Barnes Museum for the third year.
Mrs. Claus said the children’s eyes lit up when they saw Santa and some even gave him Christmas lists. People were waiting outside before Santa arrived for a chance to take a photo with Kriss Kringle and see the museum decorated for the holidays.
“We’re here to support the community,” said Darren Wright. “We love the Barnes Museum. We come here a couple times a year.”
Wright’s daughter, Cassie, 4, was all dressed up to see Santa, in a dress that her grandmother bought her. She planned on asking Santa for a doll.
Gwen Khan was excited for her granddaughter to not only meet Santa but to also learn some of the history of the Barnes Museum.
“I just love history,” Khan said. “It’s beautiful that they’re having it in here.”
Renee Jansson agreed.
“This museum is beautiful,” said Jansson. “I love seeing it with the holiday decorations.”
Curator Marie Secondo said the staff started decorating for the holidays at Halloween. Every room in the house had a Christmas tree. Staff gave tours to visitors after their photos with Santa.
“The majority of the trees are decorated with flowers,” she said. “Every tree in the house is different.”
“We try to decorate according to the room,” she added.
The dressing room, for example, was designed to be more feminine with pink and purple colors. Photos of the ladies of the Barnes family adorned the tree.
The Christmas tree by the entrance of the museum was covered with toys from when the members of the Barnes family were children. Bradley Barnes’ Ferris wheel was displayed for all to see.
Throughout the 19th century home were several special exhibits, such as a blue porcelain display in the dining room. There were also several diaries of the Barnes family members available for viewing, all turned to holiday entries.
“The theme of this year is memories through the diaries,” said Secondo.
For the first time, families had the opportunity to have professional portraits taken throughout the decorated museum.
“We’re always thinking of what we can do to make this museum a highlight of Southington,” said Secondo.
Through this month, the museum will be collecting food for the Southington Bread for Life. Last year it collected over 200 pounds of food.
Michelle Jalbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.