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‘A Traditional Christmas with the Websters’ Comes to West Hartford

Marilyn Richardson painting, Noah Webster House in Snow, 2001. Submitted image

The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society will offer special theatrical holiday tours.

Vintage Christmas Card, in the collection of the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society. Submitted image


Just in time for the holiday season, the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society will offer a special theatrical program that depicts the traditions of Christmases past.

On Friday, Dec. 21 and Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018, special theatrical holiday tours of the Noah Webster House will be offered every half hour, from 4 to 8 p.m.

Guests will visit the lantern-lit historic house and interact with its occupants amidst their preparations for Christmas. Noah’s wife, Mrs. Rebecca Webster, will guide guests through the home to meet her children, guests, and even Noah himself. The traditions of early 19th century Connecticut Christmas come to life through song, dance, and stories.

The program is produced by West Hartford resident Suzanne Sayers, a professional Theatre Teaching Artist.

Sayers has been the director of the museum’s popular West Hartford Hauntings program for the past 10 years. She was inspired to create a cozy, heart-warming holiday program usingNoah Webster’s house as a stage. A Traditional Christmas with the Websters is set in the early 1800s, when Noah Webster was an adult and raising his own family. Consequently, guests will meet Noah, his wife Rebecca, and some of their seven children.

When Noah Webster was a child in the 1760s, Christmas was not celebrated in the way it is today. While it was observed as a religious holiday, it was done so with very little fanfare. In fact, it was pretty much just another regular day.

By the time Noah Webster had his own children, however, things had begun to change with special dinners, songs, dances, and some holiday decorations for the occasion. Other holiday traditions took several more decades to catch on.

The idea of St. Nicholas did not become popular until 1823, when Clement Clark Moore’s poem “A Visit from Saint Nicolas” was published in the Troy Sentinel. The Christmas tree was unheard of by most Americans until 1848, when a print of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s  tree appeared in the Illustrated London News and made the practice fashionable.

Guests will learn more about the holiday traditions of the early 19th century during this family-friendly program. Tours last approximately 30 minutes and end with cookies and a hot drink. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children ($13/$9 for museum members). Space is extremely limited, advance purchase is suggested. For tickets, visit www.noahwebster.yapsody.com or call 860-521-5362.

The museum would like to thank the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the Greater Hartford Arts Council for their continued support.

The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society is a cultural destination where citizens can learn to understand and appreciate the past. The museum preserves the birthplace of Noah Webster, the founding father, educator, author, and lexicographer who taught generations of Americans what it means to be American. This National Historic Landmark is also a repository for West Hartford history, the community that molded Noah Webster’s future and is still thriving over 250 years later. The historic house and exhibit spaces are open daily 1 until 4 p.m. For information on the museum’s extensive school and public programs, please visit www.noahwebsterhouse.org or call 860-521-5362.

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