Museums By Candlelight

A FREE Holiday Program For All Agestfc-mbc-web-logo.jpeg

Saturday, December 14, 2013
Programs start at 12 noon

Frederick County’s numerous historic sites and museums provide visitors with a living reminder of this area's splendid past. During Museums by Candlelight, special programming and hands-on fun will delight visitors of all ages, and special children's activities are featured at most locations.

This is a self-guided event.  Visit many locations, or just a few, in any order.  Enjoy period demonstrations, living history vignettes, hands-on crafts, refreshments, tours, music, holiday decorations and historic settings by candlelight as night falls. 

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Museums by Candlelight

25 museums are participating during the 25th anniversary of the Museums by Candlelight program.  Sites of special interest this year include:

South Mountain Area Sites - Museums at Gathland State Park, part of South Mountain State Battlefield, feature two new museum exhibits that opened in May. This is a great opportunity to see the exhibits before the season closes.  This site is located nearby South Mountain Heritage Society, which was the German Reformed Church used as a hospital after the Battle of South Mountain. It now has exhibits and programs on the history of Burkittsville.

Monocacy National Battlefield Sites - Gambrill House is the Historic Preservation Training Center headquarters and they last participated in Museums by Candlelight in 2008. This stop pairs nicely with the Thomas House at Monocacy National Battlefield.

Catoctin Mountain Sites - Cunningham Falls State Park could not participate last year due to storm damage from Sandy. While in the area, stop by the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, which is in its second year of participation and Catoctin Mountain Park.

kids at MBC rosehill.jpgAll programs begin at noon. Unless otherwise noted in the detailed listings below, the City of Frederick sites will remain open until 7 p.m., while most other sites will conclude programs at 5 p.m.   Please be sure to check the program details for each site.

Participants and details about each location’s Museums by Candlelight program are listed below. For visitor convenience, participants are listed below by the following regions:

Northern Frederick County (Thurmont and Emmitsburg)
Western Frederick County (Middletown Area)
Southern Frederick County (Brunswick, Burkittsville, Monocacy Battlefield area)
City of Frederick

Museums by Candlelight is hosted by the Frederick Historic Sites Consortium with support from Plamondon Hospitality Partners and The Frederick-News Post.

More Information
For more information and a list of participating sites, download the brochure which contains a schematic map (PDF) or the print-friendly program guide (PDF). You are also welcome to stop by the Frederick Visitor Center for an event brochure after November 9, 2013 at 151 South East Street in Frederick, Maryland, or call 301-600-4047 or 800-999-3613 for more details.

Inclement Weather Policy
Cancellation of Museums by Candlelight will not occur unless the Maryland State Police (MSP) declare that the Snow Emergency Plan is in effect for Frederick County. If this happens, the entire event will be cancelled.  Isolated circumstances can warrant individual museum cancellations.  A power outage, burst pipes, or roads that have not been cleared, may be reasons for a last minute museum cancellation. If in doubt, contact museums individually prior to visiting.

NORTHERN FREDERICK COUNTY (programs close at 5 p.m. unless otherwise noted)
National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
339 S. Seton Avenue, Emmitsburg
Extended hours - 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (note new closing time)

  • Tour of the specially decorated historic homes of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton offered throughout the day; candlelight tours offered at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Take part in interactive discovery activities
  • Enjoy organ music throughout the day
  • View the movie, “The Littlest Angel,” at 3 p.m.
  • Refreshments available

Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum
300B S. Seton Avenue, Emmitsburg - closed at 2:30 p.m.

  • See early fire apparatus from Frederick County such as the 1821/47 “Old Lady” Hand Tub Pumper, the 1893 Independent Hose Company Hose Reel, and the United Fire Co. No. 3 1939 Ahrens-Fox piston pumper.
  • Have fun while learning fire prevention and fire safety lessons, and take some educational materials for children home.
  • Make donation of a new toy to support the “Toys for Tots” program in Frederick County.

Catoctin Mountain Park - CANCELLED
6602 Foxville Road, Thurmont, MD

  • Celebrate winter and enjoy our visitor center exhibit room under special holiday lights.
  • Make a pinecone and peanut butter bird feeder to take home for the birds!

Thurmont Historical Society                                
11 N. Church Street, Thurmont, MD

  • See the Creeger House, the historic home that houses the Society’s research library, offices, archives and displays, beautifully arrayed for the holiday season.
  • Visit with Santa Claus!
  • Pick up a ticket for Thurmont’s House Tour and visit the other lovely spots in our historic town.

Cunningham Falls State Park Visitor Center and the Catoctin Furnace    - CANCELLED
14039 Catoctin Hollow Road, Thurmont

  • Explore the Visitor Center museum dedicated to the Catoctin Mountains and the iron furnace.
  • Walk next door to view live birds of prey and reptiles that are part of the Maryland Park Service Scales & Tales program.
  • Make nature crafts.
  • If weather permits, tours of the Catoctin Furnace will be offered, departing from the Visitor Center on foot or by van shuttle.
  • Cider and cookies will be served.

Catoctin Furnace Historical Society  - CANCELLED
12607 Catoctin Hollow Road, Thurmont

  • See the ca. 1810 Collier's Log House in the Village of Catoctin Furnace.  The double log house, which is the linchpin of the largely intact colonial industrial village, was restored during the Bicentennial era.  
  • Learn about the early industry, lifeways and foodways of Catoctin Furnace and northern Frederick County in an early nineteenth century atmosphere, including open hearth cooking demonstrations.
  • Find out about plans to celebrate, study, and preserve the rich history of this pre-revolutionary industrial village
  • Enjoy baked goods from traditional village recipes and traditional village crafts. 
  • Design and purchase a holiday wreath with fresh greenery, holly, pine cones, ribbon and bows and other adornments – crafted for you by volunteers while you wait.    
  • Children will be given a village coloring book with historical information and puzzles and make a holiday card.    

WESTERN FREDERICK COUNTY (programs close at 5 p.m.)
The William F. Moran, Jr. Museum & Foundation, Inc. - CANCELLED
4246 Old National Pike, Middletown

  • Watch  local bladesmiths demonstrate the art of forging hunting and small utility knives.  
  • In the new Shop Museum, view outstanding examples of Moran knives, iron work and memorabilia
  • See a video showing Bill Moran in “How to Forge a Knife.”  
  • Bill Moran’s Classic Book, “Master of the Forge” will be available.  
  • Cookies and cider will be served.

Middletown Valley Historical Society
Main Street, Middletown   

  • Visit the only visible stone house in the oldest section of Middletown and its separate, authentic, summer kitchen.
  • View exhibits of local interest, including a Stottlemyer rocker and chairs, Middletown coverlets, church Bibles and an 1888 Black wedding dress.                         

Dahlgren Chapel, Central Maryland Heritage League  - CANCELLED                
Across from South Mountain Inn, at Turner’s Gap on South Mountain, Alternate Rt. 40

  • Discover the 1882 Gothic-style chapel atop South Mountain.
  • Explore the many splendid stained glass windows and learn about plans for their restoration.

SOUTHERN FREDERICK COUNTY (programs close at 5 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Thomas House at Monocacy National Battlefield  - closed at 3 p.m.
4460 Baker Valley Road, Frederick

  • Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season at the recently restored historic Thomas House on Monocacy National Battlefield
  • View traditional period decorations
  • Make a special keepsake ornament
  • To see exhibits and for more information about the battlefield, stop by the Visitor Center at 5201 Urbana Pike.

Gambrill House,  NPS Historic Preservation Training Center
Monocacy National Battlefield, 4801 A Urbana Pike, Frederick

  • Tour the c. 1870-72 mansion that was home to miller James Gambrill and his large family.
  • Explore this Victorian masterwork from top to bottom, to gain a sense of what it was like to live on a country estate.
  • Create their own origami cranes and painted wooden ornaments to festoon your home.
  • Enjoy light refreshments.

South Mountain Heritage Society
3 East Main Street, Burkittsville
Extended hours -  12 noon until 7 p.m.

  • Learn about the architecture of our 1829 site, a beautiful former German Reformed Church.
  • See displays of antique toys and vintage holiday decorations from the collections of Society members.
  • View our permanent exhibits relating to the history of Burkittsville and the surrounding area.
  • Make a holiday ornament to take home.
  • Partake of holiday refreshments.
  • Enjoy a special demonstration of the historic 1862 Pomplitz and Rodewald Pipe Organ
  • (1:00, 2:30, 4:00, 5:30, 7:00).

Gathland State Park Museums
900 Arnoldstown Road, Burkittsville

  • Explore the estate of George Alfred Townsend adorned for Christmas.
  • Discover two newly renovated museums with state of the art exhibits about the life and career of Townsend, Civil War Correspondents, and the Battle of South Mountain.
  • Visit an encampment of Civil War soldiers as they prepare for the long winter season.

Brunswick Heritage Museum and C&O Canal NHP Visitor Center      
40 West Potomac Street, Brunswick

  • Play parlor games, just like guests to Victorian house parties and Christmas celebrations
  • Join Brunswick Railroad Museum volunteers and staff in rounds of Blind Man's Bluff, Change Seats, and Pass the Slipper!  

CITY OF FREDERICK (programs close at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted)
Rose Hill Manor Park and Museum - will close at 5 p.m.

1611 N. Market Street, Frederick

  • Explore Rose Hill decorated in traditional holiday style
  • Visit with Anne Grahame, Thomas Johnson and others
  • Learn about early holiday traditions

Schifferstadt Architectural Museum
1110 Rosemont Avenue, Frederick (at the Route 15 Exit to Rosemont Avenue) - will close at 5 p.m.

  • Join in a variety of children’s activities
  • Enjoy some  holiday goodies

The Visitation Academy
200 E. Church Street, Frederick  - CANCELLED

  • Learn about the courageous Georgetown Visitation Sisters who traveled by railroad to Frederick in 1846, to take the reins of on all-girls school formerly run by the Sisters of Charity (since 1824).
  • Learn what life was like for a cloistered Visitation Sister and student "behind the walls".
  • Learn about the Academy being used as General Hospital #5 during the Civil War in September 1862 after receiving the first casualties from the Battle of Antietam.
  • Treasure the stunning art and architecture of the Chapel and Franz Mayer stained glass windows.Civil War Santa NMCWM.JPG

Museum of Frederick County History
24 E. Church Street, Frederick      - CANCELLED          

  • Explore the history of Frederick County winter holidays past through decorations and traditions.
  • Take a guided tours
  • Enjoy Holiday goodies
  • Crafts for kids will be offered

National Museum of Civil War Medicine   - CANCELLED
48 East Patrick Street, Frederick     

  • Join some old fashioned, mid-Victorian holiday cheer while taking a serious look at medicine during the American Civil War.
  • Visit with soldiers, citizens and Santa Clause as they appeared during the 1860’s
  • Hear their songs, and experience a Civil War hospital during the holidays.

Maryland Room, C. Burr Artz Public Library        
110 East Patrick Street, Frederick
(Open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.)

  • View an exhibit of model trains, both in the lobby and in the Maryland Room.  
  • Enjoy a collection of model trains operating in the C. Burr Artz Trust Room for the day
  • Hear holiday music on the harp and flugelhorn (1- 2 p.m.)
  • Chat with writers from noon until 4 p.m. at the annual Local Author Showcase featuring local history authors and their books. Authors include R. Gourley, “Ephemera: The Civil War Papers of Private James Bruckner”;  Eileen Conklin, “Women at Gettysburg 1863 Revisited”; Susan Fair,“Mysteries and Lore of Western Maryland: Snallygasters, Dogmen and Other Mountain Tales”; Patrick Boyton, “Snallygaster: the Lost Legend of Frederick County” and “Beware the Snallygaster”; John Ashbury, “Frederick County Characters: Innovators, Pioneers and Patriots of Western Maryland” and “... And All Our Yesterdays : A Chronicle of Frederick County, Maryland”; Bruce Funk “Wenner: Before We Were Brunswick” and “Smith: Way Before We Were Brunswick”.
  • Can’t get enough of the library? Visit the Thurmont Regional Library’s exhibit of special ‘Letters to Santa’ station where children are invited to write and mail their very own letter to Santa Claus and an exhibit of Cam Miller’s photographs may be viewed.

Steiner House
368 West Patrick Street, Frederick - CANCELLED

  • Experience this historic house, beautifully appointed for the holiday
  • See a festive model train display
  • Make a craft to take home
  • Enjoy live music

Barbara Fritchie House and Museum
154 W. Patrick Street, Frederick - Closing at 5:30 p.m.

  • Tour the house and view some of Barbara's most important possessions
  • Read the poem that made Barbara and Frederick famous
  • Learn why the poem caused so much controversy, which still continues today
  • Enjoy a piece of birthday cake as we celebrate Barbara’s 247th birthday (December 3)
  • Children may color a picture of the famous Barbara Fritchie House

DSC_0067.JPGRoger Brooke Taney House
121 South Bentz Street, Frederick - CANCELLED

  • Celebrate an 1820 Christmas through holiday décor, traditions, and seasonal foods.   
  • Enjoy a self guided tour of the museum.
  • See a hearth-cooking demonstration featuring the sights and aromas of Christmas sweets and drinks.  
  • Take part in holiday crafts.
  • Warm up with a hot cup of cocoa and Christmas treats.

Key Memorial Chapel      - CANCELLED      
Mt. Olivet Cemetery, 515 S. Market Street, Frederick 

  • See Mt. Olivet Cemetery’s historic chapel, including the original Tiffany windows installed by Rudy Brothers of New York in 1911.  
  • Discover new Francis Scott Key interpretive wayside exhibits, near Key’s gravesite and monument (best viewed in daylight hours)
  • View exquisite works by local artist Colleen Remsberg, including a hand-painted nativity scene and hand-painted “smokers” burning incense.

Frederick Town (Hessian) Barracks        
Maryland School for the Deaf, 101 Clarke Place, Frederick   

  • See the first Building erected by the new State of Maryland (circa 1777) – the Frederick Town Barracks – possibly the most important Patriot military establishment surviving from the time of the Revolutionary War, 1776-1783.
  • Walk through the physical space of 1777 and take plenty of photos.  Learn about the planned renovation work to this historic structure.
  • See the “Great Baby Waker” cannon memorial, a reminder that bells and cannon share common origins.
  • Visit with Hessian military living historians as they explain period drills and camp life.
  • Enjoy festive luminaries and pause for light refreshments.

Bjorlee Museum
Maryland School for the Deaf, 101 Clarke Place, Frederick

  • Explore a collection that began in 1872, including antique toys, instructional aids, fine furniture, photographs, books, MSD history and much more.
  • Enjoy current exhibits featuring the art of well-known local artist, Helen L. Smith, and the history of the education of Deaf African Americans – 1872-1956.
  • See the AARCH Society (African American Resources – Cultural and Heritage) displays regarding the early history of African American education in Frederick County and the Civil War era US Colored Troops.
  • Learn about Civil War veterans who were alumni and staff from schools for the deaf.  See a collection of original Civil War soldiers’ lending library books from the US Army General Hospital #1 which was located on the grounds – many of which are signed by patients – and  learn about the hospital design and operations.
  • Enjoy holiday luminaries lining the sidewalks.
  • Live music will be provided with light refreshments.