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Francene Cosman, the curator at Scott Manor House, sits next to a few items that will be on display during the Olde Fashioned Christmas open house on Dec. 1 and 2. (Jenny Gillis)
Francene Cosman, the curator at Scott Manor House, sits next to a few items that will be on display during the Olde Fashioned Christmas open house on Dec. 1 and 2. (Jenny Gillis)

Scott Manor House goes back in time to celebrate the holiday season

Scott Manor House is continuing a holiday tradition this year with an open house showcasing Christmas decor and artifacts. This year’s event, Olde Fashioned Christmas, takes place Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event is free, although donations are accepted.

Volunteers first hosted the open house in 2015. Francene Cosman, the museum’s curator, says there were 338 people who visited during the 12 hours of the open house and they’re hoping for a similar turnout this year.

“Every single person lit up when they walked through the door,” Cosman says. “It brought back memories of their childhood or of their grandparents or farm life. It was evocative of some emotional connection to the past.”

The main level of the house will be decorated with vintage items from the house or that are donated by members of the community. One of the oldest items in the house is a doll made from kid leather that dates back to 1910. The doll was donated by a Bedford resident who received it from her grandmother. It will be showcased in a cabinet in the house’s tearoom.

Two Christmas stockings from 1910 will be hanging on the fireplace in the kitchen. A teddy bear made from an old mink coat will be on display as well. Cosman and the volunteers creates vignettes throughout the house featuring some of the items, along with holiday decor, including tree boughs, pinecones, berries and other items from nature.

Besides Cosman, there are 14 volunteers who help with the event. During the open house, each room will have a volunteer who can guide guests and answer any questions. There will be live carolling in the house, along with hot cider and oatcakes. The Lions Club is donating trees that will be used in the decor.

During the first event in 2015, Cosman says they focused on Christmases from the 1920s and 1930s. This year’s event will have a mix of decades featured. Cosman says in the first year of the event, she did a lot of research from books and records of what Christmases past looked like and used those images to create the settings for the open house.

“I had it in my mind of what it was like back then,” Cosman says. “I want people to realize there is a quieter, simpler way to enjoy Christmas.”

The open house is also a chance for visitors to explore at least the main level of the house for the first time. Scott Manor House is the only full two-and-a-half storey, gambrel-roofed colonial structure in Nova Scotia and possibly Canada. It’s a registered provincial and municipal heritage property.

“This is the jewel in the crown for Bedford,” Cosman says. “It has an enormous history most people don’t know about.”

Scott Manor House is located at 15 Fort Sackville Rd. in Bedford. For more information, visit scottmanor.ca.

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