SOUTHINGTON — Christmas music will soon be heard at the Barnes Museum, with this year’s annual holiday display featuring a recently restored 1914 piano.
Marie Secondo, Barnes Museum curator, along with assistants and volunteers take about a month to finish setting up the Christmas decorations. Secondo plans to finish by Thanksgiving.
The piano still has its original $1,250 receipt. The Friends of the Barnes Museum organized a fundraiser to restore the piano, which hasn’t been in working condition for 20 years.
“We have over 300 music rolls and 900 theater programs,” Secondo said.
Pam DePaolo usually comes around during the holidays to play the piano. DePaolo, who has a degree in operatic voice, will play during a holiday tea party Dec. 13. The party is by reservation only.
Secondo is looking for volunteers to play for tours during the holiday season. There are 200 pieces of sheet music for the piano. One of the oldest sheets is “Beautiful Compounce Lake” by B.J. Shandley, written 1896.
There are nine Christmas trees throughout the house and two more will go up soon. On Dec.1, the museum will host a Santa and Mrs. Claus greet. They encourage children to bring non-perishable food items.
“People come from all over the state, this is our busiest month,” Secondo said. “We have been visited by every state and 50 countries.”
The original owner of the house, Bradley Barnes, donated it to the town since he had no family to pass it on to. The house was built in 1836 and the museum opened in 1974. Staff and volunteers decorate all 17 rooms for the holidays. The museum has climate control and all of their windows have UV protection so the wallpaper, paint and artifacts won’t fade and wither from the elements.
Necla Balasaygun is one of the volunteers that helps with decorations.
“I like the history. I like helping when we have an event,” Balasaygun said.
The museum’s tour hours are from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the first and last Saturday of every month. The museum is open from 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. Holiday tours will extend into the first two weeks of January. Secondo encourages larger groups to call ahead.
Tours usually take about one hour. You can call 860-628-5426 to arrange special tours or to inquire about holding events.
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