Join MdHS’ Free Holiday Open House on Dec. 1st Before the Washington Monument Lighting

Also For the First Time, on Dec. 3rd & 4th, Museum Offers $1 Admission

Baltimore, Maryland (November 2011)- In keeping with the holiday spirit, the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) will celebrate with a free “Monument Lighting Open House” Thursday, December 1st from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. The open house will include live music, refreshments, children’s crafts, people from the past, and Santa Claus to teach about the origins of Christmas symbols. Free parking will be available to all visitors. Admission will be free all day Thursday, with $1 admission the following Saturday and Sunday, December 3rd and 4th. The Museum’s professional theatrical group, the MdHS Players will perform Civil War vignettes and lead guided tours Saturday and Sunday. For more information, go to, contact 410-685-3750 ext. 377, or email

“Come out of the cold and step back in time to help celebrate the holiday with our ‘Monument Lighting Open House.’ After visiting MdHS, walk over to the Monument for the 40th annual monument lighting and fireworks display at 7:00 pm.” said Kristin Schenning, director of education, MdHS. The museum will be adorned with holiday decorations, while live carolers from the Institute of Notre Dame sing holiday music, and a holiday musical presentation will highlight the festive ambiance. Hot chocolate and cider will be served, as well as homemade holiday cookies. Children’s activities will be provided.

Santa Claus will visit MdHS on Thursday, informing guests of the origins of Christmas gifts, cards, candy canes, Yule logs, and other symbols of Christmas. Santa will discuss his own personal origin, as well as the holiday traditions during the Civil War time period. He will take pictures with children, and talk to them about their wishes for the holiday.

The Maryland Historical Society will open at its usual time of 10:00 am, but will extend its hours until 8:00 pm. Every exhibit will be open to the public for the full day. Attendees will see MdHS’ newest exhibits on the Civil War and the War of 1812 as well as exhibitions of Maryland paintings, silver, and furniture.

Every year, Mount Vernon celebrates the holiday season by lighting the Washington Monument in festive lights. “A Monumental Occasion” begins at 5:30 and includes entertainment, various venders, and refreshments. The lighting ceremony begins at 7:00pm and the official lighting is expected at 7:20 pm. The event ends with a colorful finale of fireworks choreographed to music. The occasion is coordinated by the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, for more information, call 1-877-BALTIMORE.

For the first time, MdHS will participate in “Downtown Dollar or Less Days” on Saturday and Sunday, December 3rd and 4th. Once a year, for one weekend in December, downtown Baltimore attractions lower admission fees to $1 or less, to offer attractions at a price that families can afford. No registration is required. MdHS will offer $1 admission both Saturday and Sunday, December 3rd and 4th. MdHS opens at 10:00 am on Saturday, and 12:00 noon on Sunday, and closes at 5:00 pm both days.

The Maryland Historical Society, along with the American Visionary Art Museum, Maryland Science Center, the National Aquarium, Port Discovery, and many other local museums and attractions, will offer $1 admission (or less) to its facilities for patrons of all ages. For more information, visit

Weekend visitors will be able to explore the museum, including MdHS’ civil war exhibit. MdHS Players will highlight important events and fascinating individuals who played a unique role in Maryland’s heritage. Following the Players’ performances, there will be a series of guided tours, in which actors will bring to life some of the people and events that shaped the Nation’s history. Performances are approximately 10-15 minutes each, tours last roughly 30 minutes.

On Saturday, December 3, Christopher Kinslow will perform a vignette from his presentation on John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. Kateri Chambers will also perform as Rebecca Davis, a Montgomery County, Maryland resident, whose family was sharply divided by a Union-loyal father, and neutral mother, all while she and her brother were faithful to the confederate side. On Sunday, the two players will be Britt Olsen-Ecker and Christopher Davis. Olsen-Ecker will portray Clara Barton, a woman famous for organizing the American Red Cross. Christopher Davis will portray Ned Rich’s humorous misadventures as a Maryland native and Southern sympathizer, who longs to escape from Maryland across Union lines to join the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The Maryland Historical Society was founded in 1844 and is the world’s largest museum and library dedicated to the history of Maryland. Occupying an entire city block in the Mount Vernon District of Baltimore, the society’s mission is to “collect, preserve, and interpret the objects and materials that reflect Maryland’s diverse cultural heritage.” The society is home to the original manuscript of the Star Spangled Banner and publishes a quarterly titled “Maryland Historical Magazine.” For more information please visit .


Monument Lighting Open House

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