For many, Christmastime is a holiday season surrounding appreciation, warmth and thankfulness. Therefore, it is not surprising that many mark the Thanksgiving holiday as the official start of the season. When you come to the Shriver House Museum this Thanksgiving, you will find that this is the case.
Every year Candlelight Christmas Tours of the Shriver House Museum are a much enjoyed, popular seasonal event that starts on Thanksgiving evening. Touring times will begin at 5 p.m. and last through 7 p.m. Come step back in time and take a candlelight tour of the Shriver home as it appeared around the holiday season in the 1860s. In addition to observing the nostalgic holiday reminders and traditions of the day, you will learn the story of the Shriver family and how both the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War in general impacted their lives.
This special Thanksgiving engagement will continue on Friday with two time slots for tours—2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (tours on the hour) and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Note, on both days the candlelight tours from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. require advanced reservation.
Christmas tours at Shriver will be ongoing starting on Nov. 28 on through Dec. 19. These tours offer an exploration into the way Christmas was celebrated in the mid-1800s with all its traditions, as well as what it felt like to experience Christmas in the midst of all the peril and turmoil during the Civil War.
Visitors will enter the historic Shriver House where the Shriver family—George, Hettie and their two daughters Sadie (7) and Mollie (5) prepare for the upcoming Christmas holiday. Step into the parlor and see the traditional Victorian Christmas tree, laden with candles. In the fireplace, a fire blazes in a warm and cozy setting. The whole room is draped in holiday greenery. You will also notice the hanging stockings and the milk and cookies that the two daughters have left out in anticipation of Santa’s visit to them on such a special night.
Christmastime was one of the few respites—moments of cheer that families took pleasure in during one of the most gruesome times in American history. On these house tours, you will learn all about the way Civil War era families celebrated the holidays while fathers, sons, and husbands were separated from loved ones, away at war.
Candlelight tours are a great way to learn about the small-town, overlooked home life surrounding families during the Civil War. The Shriver House Museum conducts numerous tours and events throughout the year and is a much sought-after venue in Gettysburg—a hidden gem.
If you haven’t experienced Shriver yet, taking a tour this holiday season would make for a wonderful first visit. The Shriver House Museum is located at 309 on Baltimore Street in Gettysburg. For more information, visit www.shriverhouse.org.