Homestead Museum offers holiday tours

Looking for a way to immerse yourself in the holiday season? Check out the Homestead Museum’s Holiday Tour Weekends on Saturdays and Sundays, December 6, 7, 13, and 14, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Learn about how the celebration of Christmas changed from the 1840s through the 1920s as you tour the museum’s decorated historic houses and meet some colorful characters along the way.

On Dec. 6, visitors can help Elizabeth and Rose Townsend trim a 1920s Christmas tree and play a festive party game. Be on the lookout for Frank Romero, an exhausted chauffeur, as he returns from some last-minute errands on Dec. 7.

Filled with the holiday spirit, Walter and Sheila Nelson will be on hand on Dec.13, for a yuletide sing-along, and Charlotte Bullock, a Victorian-era immigrant from England, will do her best to determine whether or not visitors have the stamina to celebrate the season the way she and her friends did back home on Dec. 14.

Sweet treats will be served in the Gallery after each hour-long tour. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students and seniors. Space is limited and reservations are recommended.

Santa Claus will make a special appearance on Dec. 6, 13 from 2 to 4 p.m., so don’t forget your list! Call (626) 968-8493 or visit homesteadmuseum.org for more information.

When William Workman, whose Workman House is part of the Homestead Museum, first arrived in the Los Angeles area in the 1840s, Christmas was regarded as a religious event celebrated with plays such as Las Pastorelas (The Shepherd’s Play) and Las Posadas (the story of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging).

People attended the Misa del Gallo (Mass of the Rooster) at sunrise and would enjoy popular foods of the season including buñuelos and In 1870, Christmas became a national holiday and local celebrations reflected more traditions from around the world including Christmas trees, decorations, and Santa Claus.

By the time Workman’s grandson, Walter Temple Sr., came to build a home of his own next to the Workman House in the 1920s, Christmas was quite a commercial event.

Popular department stores like Broadway catered to every gift buying desire. Colorful lights adorned businesses and homes alike, and in Altadena one could drive through a forest of illuminated trees known as Christmas Tree Lane.

The holiday season is an amazing time of year to visit the Homestead Museum. Free tours of the decorated historic houses are offered Wednesday through Sunday at 1, 2,3 and 4 p.m., with the exception of the Holiday Tour Weekends.

The museum will be losed on December 24, 25, 31, and January 1, however the holiday exhibit will remain on display through Jan. 4, 2015.

The museum is located at 15415 East Don Julian Road in the City of Industry, just one mile north of SR 60 (Pomona Freeway) at the Hacienda Boulevard exit. Call (626) 968-8493 or visit homesteadmuseum.org for more information.

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