The Finney County Historical Museum has unveiled its historic St. Mary’s nativity exhibit in the Front Door Gallery this week, just in time for Saturday’s holiday open house.
The 2018 Christmas exhibit at the museum, 403 S.Fourth St., was assembled by Yadira Hernandez, artifact registrar, using approximately 15 weathered manger scene pieces that were placed indoors or outdoors each Christmas season by the old St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 509 St.John.
The traditional brick church building was dedicated in1918 and demolished in 1971, making way for the present structure at the same site. The manger scene, with some pieces standing 24 inches in height, was displayed each Christmas season as far back as 1939, according to available records.
In addition to the historic nativity tableau, the exhibit features two photographs of the old church building, as well as a pair of statues used inside.
The nativity pieces are part of the museum’s collection, but additional components in the display were provided by The Crazy House of Garden City and local resident Jerry Lalicker, with assistance from Finney County Historical Society Board member Keith Downer. The church statues were donated recently, along with others, by the Raimon “Bud” Walters Estate and family.
The Front Door Gallery, located just inside the museum entrance, is a small space that features frequently-changing exhibits. Winter viewing hours are 1 to 5 p.m. daily, and the display will remain in place until early 2019.
Viewing will also be available during the museum’s holiday open house, set for 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15.
Holiday Open House
The open house will include carolers and other live musical performances by singer Al Miller, antique car rides, seasonal snacks, a Christmas quilt raffle, and shopping opportunities ranging from booths by visiting vendors to items in the museum store.
A group of volunteer carolers will perform between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., singing traditional selections of the season for the third consecutive year. In addition, Garden City vocalist and guitarist Al Miller is planning to appear live from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and also 2 to 3 p.m. with his own renditions of many familiar Christmas tunes.
The museum store has just added the 2019 Finney County Historical Society calendar, with a Mid-Century Modern theme; and four types of long and short-sleeve T-shirts that replicate sugar sack images from the old Garden City Sugar Factory that operated from 1906 to 1955.
Other gift possibilities range from T-shirts connected to the popular True Crime exhibit, items linked to Kansas history and culture,goods crafted by southwest Kansas artists and artisans and locally-packed Santa Fe Trail and Jumpy Monkey coffees to Sage House Soaps, Brian McCallum pottery,regional and local souvenirs, creations by KK and LuLu and a selection of books by local and regional authors, including the new University Press of Kansas biography, “Marine, Public Servant, Kansan – The Life of Ernest Garcia.”
Several of the visiting vendors are back from the museum’s summer season Flea Market Festival of Antiques, Collectibles, Art and Crafts, and their booths will be set up in the museum’s meeting room and adjacent hallway.
Entry for the open house will be available through the main and north doorways.
The antique car rides, popular each year at the event,are expected to include a 1930 Ford Model A, a 1954 Ford pickup and a 1955 Ford Fairlane, conditions permitting. Vehicle boarding will be available outside the main entrance, with free tickets available inside at the reception desk.
The raffle, with tickets at $5 each or five for $20,includes a chance to win a manufactured Bedsure Soft and Cozy quilt set in 90by 96 full/queen size, along with matching pillow shams. The random drawing for the Christmas-theme quilt will take place at the end of the open house,but tickets are already on sale at the museum, with cash or checks accepted.