While the Finney County Historical Museum won’t be hosting a holiday open house this year, due to COVID precautions, it has opened its 2020 Christmas Exhibit in the Front Door Gallery.
Entitled “Season’s Greetings, Historic 19th and 20th Century Christmas Cards,” the display features approximately three-dozen antique Christmas cards dating from the late 1800s through the early 1960s, all from the museum’s artifact collection. There are also six enlarged Christmas card images, three representing the late 1950s and early 1960s, and three from the late 1800s-early 1900s period.
Assembled primarily by Yadira Hernandez, the museum’s artifact registrar, the exhibit is open 1 to 5 p.m. seven days weekly from now through the end of the year. Admission is free and the museum is located at 403 S. Fourth Street in Garden City’s Finnup Park. The Front Door Gallery is a small space just inside the entrance where displays change frequently throughout the year. “Season’s Greetings” is the fifth consecutive exhibit of 2020.
In addition to the framed cards, which show how themes and styles have changed over more than 100 years, the space includes the museum’s Christmas tree, decorated with small reproduction cards from the same span of time. Visitors can learn when pre-printed holiday greetings first appeared, when they became affordable for the general public and other facts, including the earliest known use of the phrase “Merry Christmas.” Viewers will also be able to see two White House Christmas cards, one sent by President George H.W. Bush and the other sent by President Bill Clinton, as well as a Cedar Crest card once card issued by the Kansas Governor’s Office.
All of the museum’s other exhibits are available for perusal too, and the Museum Gift Shop is open concurrently to offer holiday shopping. The store is stocking hundreds of gift items for adults and children, including new Garden City Big Pool commemorative T-shirts in two vintage styles. There are also books, videos, toys and souvenirs related to local and area history and culture.
Adjacent to the exhibit, there is a display of Cuthbertson “American Christmas Tree” china. The donated four-place setting, with 20 total pieces, is being raffled in a drawing planned for Dec. 21 in order to raise funds to help support the historical society. Tickets are on sale at the museum for $5 each, or five for $20, with cash or checks accepted.
While visitors will have approximately six weeks to see “Season’s Greetings,” holiday closings are scheduled Nov. 26-27, Dec. 24-27 and Dec. 31-Jan. 3. In keeping with a recently-passed city ordinance, museum visitors must wear face masks. Other COVID safety protocols are in place too.