Christmas exhibits await visitors at the Pratt County Historical Museum – Pratt Tribune


By Jennifer Stultz
Publisher Pratt Tribune

Christmas cookies, drinks, live holiday music, and a sparkling array of seasonal decorations await those who come to the Pratt County Historical Museum Open House and Christmas Extravaganza from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. pm on Sunday, December 4 at 208 S. Ninnescah, Pratt. “We had so much fun getting all the different areas ready for Christmas,” said museum director Charmaine Swanepoel. “It’s totally different every year and we can’t wait to share the Christmas spirit with everyone.”

Swanepoel, who was assisted by a loyal team of more than eight other community members to decorate the museum, said she never really had a plan for how things would go. They all start and the creativity flows.

“One of my favorite places is Grandma’s garden this year,” she said. “We did this in a bridal/maid of honor Christmas theme and it’s just amazing!”

White, gold and green adornments adorn an area that includes a white pillared gazebo and lavish color-coordinated Christmas trees, while the focus remains on a bridal model wearing a wedding dress once won by the local resident Carol Ralston Slade.

“We are even very grateful to Small Town Couture who lent us two very expensive gold dresses for the occasion,” Swanepoel said. “It’s really something you have to go out and see for yourself to get the full effect. It’s adorable.”

In addition to the Christmas scenery of the old-time boardwalk and the beautiful turquoise and silver tree in the lobby, there’s plenty to see and experience at the museum that’s sure to inspire holiday feelings.

“It’s just been a ball brewing this year,” Swanepoel said. “I’m really lucky to have the best volunteers and colleagues here.”

Christine Mattal, Debbie Boley, Genny Schmidt, Belinda and Richard Gimple, Kathie Thurman, Lea Ann Holland, Shirley Lawton and Swanepoel helped set up the Christmas exhibits, quilt exhibit and museum adornments this year. The team spent about a full week decorating from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to prepare for the community event next weekend. Several of them will be on hand to offer tours and commentary as needed during Open House and December hours of operation for the holiday season.

“We have received a generous donation which allows us to be open to the public free of charge throughout December, including the open house,” Swanepoel said. “I hope everyone will come and take advantage of this bounty and enjoy the Christmas spirit here with us.”

On Sunday, December 4, the official Christmas Open House at the museum, seniors from Pratt High School will sing Christmas carols together in the garden. Tammy Thimesh and her string students will also perform.

Regular museum hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 1-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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Patrick F. Williams