Volunteers Decorate Fairlawn as Children Did for Holiday Season

Northland Uncovered: Holidays at Fairlawn

Christmas lights, garland strands and lots of trees are what you’re greeted with entering Fairlawn Mansion this time of year.

Decorating the house is a tradition carried on from when Fairlawn was a children’s home.

“They still did normal, what we think of as, family things. So, together they strung popcorn, and they still decorated trees just like we would,” said Stacie Buchanan, Museum Coordinator for Superior Public Museums.

Just like they do today, the decorations are mostly on the first floor.

“The second and third floor areas were their bedroom areas during that time so it wouldn’t be unheard of that they’d be able to do little things in their own room,” explained Buchanan.

It became a way to build camaraderie during the holiday season.

“They had fun doing it; you know you’d see 30 kids running around trying to decorate different areas of the first floor,” said Buchanan.

The kids always looked forward to decking the halls and so do museum volunteers today.

The weekend after Thanksgiving is when they roll up their sleeves.

“We usually start about 8–9 in the morning we’re done about 3–4 o’clock in the afternoon,” said Buchanan.

The week leading up to the big decorating job focuses on putting up the many Christmas trees.

“And then that day is chaos, complete chaos, but it is beautiful to see it start to finish.” Buchanan described of the decorating process.

The rooms are decked out by individual teams.

“Really it’s not overwhelming because you’re not decorating the whole house, you’re decorating one room,” said Buchanan.

She says this ritual truly shows these children were just like everyone else, “They still did music lessons, they still went to the public school in the area and just like Christmas they decorated just like everybody else did.”

Organizers tell us the decorations will stay up until January 16.

You can see the decorations on winter tours Sunday through Friday from 12 to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information, head to superiorpublicmuseums.org.  

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