by Andrea Marroquin
Due to the popularity of “The Holidays in History” tour offered the past several years, the Jekyll Island Museum has expanded what was just a weekend program into a showcase for virtually the entire month of December. “The Holidays in History” tour will provide snapshots of celebrations of the Christmas season in America through time.
Tours will begin at the Jekyll Island Museum on Stable Road with a guide shepherding small groups of guests through the centuries by tram. They will venture throughout the 240-acre Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District, richly decorated for the season.
“This tour will be really special,” promised John Hunter, the Director of the Jekyll Island Museum, a division of the Jekyll Island Authority. Guests will hear the carols that were popular in each period and encounter one costumed interpreter performing reenactments of how the holidays may have been celebrated, at different period-decorated cottages in the historic district. Along the way, meaningful customs of each time will be revealed.
“Our costumed characters will change frequently and will be a daily surprise,” Hunter said. “Guests will see the entire district and enter two of the cottages. But which cottage interiors they visit will also change on a daily basis. This enables us to be responsive to those guests who want to come back for a variety of experiences with us.”
Through the course of December, guests might witness a Victorian Christmas at Club Cottage in the year 1890. They might hear about the Jekyll Island Club’s seasonal celebrations inside historic Faith Chapel, built in 1904. They might take their revelry into a rustic hunting retreat at Moss Cottage in the year 1905. They might experience an Edwardian holiday season at Mistletoe Cottage around 1910. Or they might participate in festivities at Indian Mound Cottage in the year 1917.
“Jekyll Island is an ideal backdrop for this program,” Hunter explained. “Our history is so rich and our historic buildings span a very broad time range. The homes will be all decked out for the season. It is really fun to see history come to life here. This is a truly heartwarming and memorable program.”
Along the pathway through time, visitors hear holiday tunes of the past in celebration of the eras they travel through, from Victorian times through the Jazz Age. They also interact with a period character along their travel route.
Meet John Eugene or Alice Dubignon, filled with holiday spirit, during the time when their family owned Jekyll Island in its entirety. Bump into Head Housekeeper Minnie Schuppan, or Club Superintendent Ernest Grob, readying a cottage for the Club Members’ arrival. Share popular Christmas carols with a member of the Rockefeller staff. Or exchange Christmas greetings with a Club Member or Guest on their way out for a round of golf or preparing Faith Chapel for a Christmas party.
Hunter explained that the museum possesses an array of costumed characters to draw from as well as a talented crew of interpretive guides. Experiences will vary throughout the month of December and no two tours will be the same.
“We promise guests that no matter what day they come, they will glean an overview of how Christmas celebrations have evolved through time and experience the sights, sounds, customs, and pleasures of holidays past. We hope that this tour will help to spread the sentiment of the season and bring those joys into our guests’ holidays today and in the future,” Hunter said.
The Holidays in History program is offered daily, December 6-31, 2009 at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm, except December 24 and 25. The rate for this special seasonal tour is $16 for Adults, $7 for Children 6-12, and Free Under 6.
Coming back to sneak a peak inside some of the museum’s other decorated cottages? Hoping to meet a different costumed character? The Jekyll Island Museum offers a special discounted rate of $5 per person for a “second day” tour, so that guests can visit multiple cottages during the course of their stay. For more information contact the Jekyll Island Museum at (912) 635-4036.
To view a YouTube video sneak preview of the tour, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/JekyllIslandMuseum