Christmas at the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House

The holiday season is always a magical time at the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House. Unfortunately, this year we were unable to host our annual Victorian Christmas due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We understand how disappointing this was to visitors and volunteers alike! Many of you have made the Victorian Christmas a family holiday tradition and we take great pride in welcoming you all each and every year.

While a physical gathering was impossible, we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to see the house we love in all of its holiday splendor! We decided to keep the decorations simple and appropriate for the Victorian era. We hope you enjoy!

Let us begin with a quick message and a Civil War era holiday story told in our parlor…

Now, take a quick peek at the parlor decorated for the holidays!

The parlor at Christmas

Our simple tree was decorated with candles, a string of cranberries, dried orange slices, Victorian period candy in cheesecloth, and hand cut paper stars. All of the decorations were hand made, with the exception of the candles.

The “presents” from Saint Nicholas hold significance, as well. Hidden among the childrens’ toys, you may recognize a few of our artifacts under the tree! The cribbage board was made by Dr. Mudd while imprisoned at Fort Jefferson. Additionally, the wooden dolls chairs were made by Ned Spangler when he lived on the farm. He made them for Dr. Mudd’s daughters who placed them under the tree as decorations every Christmas.

Saint Nicholas has arrived! Look at those presents!
The greenery and fruit on the mantel

Per Victorian era custom the flat surfaces, such as the mantels, table tops, and window sills were decorated with greens. We used pine and holly.

Greenery on the window sills
(Please note that we are not permitted to light real candles in the house. We did a few modern electric candles to add to the presentation.)
The pianoforte decorated in holiday greens.

And now, let’s turn our attention to the dining room!

The mantel with greens and Victorian Era Christmas cards
A closeup of the cards. These were from the late 1870s and 1880s. They are privately owned.
Mrs. Mudd’s sideboard decorated for the holidays.
The table is ready for a Christmas feast complete with a wreath of greens and period candies!
Mrs. Mudd’s cruet set and the eucalyptus wreath make a splendid centerpiece!

While we missed each and every one of our volunteers and visitors this season, we hope this was able to remind you of fond memories of Victorian Christmas celebrations gone by. Please consider this as your invitation for 2021!

We would be remiss if we did not extend a sincere thank you to our curator Dorothea Barstow who refused to let the pandemic stop the tradition by making this happen!

The Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Society wishes you all a happy and healthy holiday season! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

If you enjoy what you see here, please consider donating to the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Museum! It is simple and easy to help! Just click the “make a donation” button on our home page, or by clicking the link below: