Four holiday mansion and house tours in Connecticut

Christmas decorations in America began in earnest in the 1850s, when the concept of table-top trees were embraced by the growing middle class. This holiday season, Victorian holiday traditions will be the focus of events at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, in Norwalk, above, and Bridgeport's Barnum Museum.
Christmas decorations in America began in earnest in the 1850s, when the concept of table-top trees were embraced by the growing middle class. This holiday season, Victorian holiday traditions will be the focus of events at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, in Norwalk, above, and Bridgeport's Barnum Museum.Contributed Photo

Bask in the glow of enormous Christmas trees, practice your descent down grand staircases and reflect on the ghosts of Christmas past.

Celebrate the season and learn how Connecticut residents celebrated the holidays in centuries past with these four mansion, house and museum tours.

The Mark Twain House and Museum
Hartford

Hartford’s Mark Twain House and Museum will be decked top to bottom in holiday cheer this season. The museum will also offer holiday events such as a new series of “Clemens Conversations” that explore Christmas as it was during Mark Twain’s lifetime. 

10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily; 385 Farmington Ave., Hartford

Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum
Wethersfield

The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum?’s ?“Three Centuries of Christmas?” tours show in fascinating detail how the American holiday season evolved over the past 300 years.
The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum?’s ?“Three Centuries of Christmas?” tours show in fascinating detail how the American holiday season evolved over the past 300 years.
Contributed photo/Not for resale

The Webb-Deane Stevens Museum offers holiday tours throughout the season and is currently in the running for USA Today’s reader's choice historic holiday home tour 2021. The museum does not offer drop-in tours during the winter, but it does have a Three Centuries of Christmas Tour that shows how holiday decorations, food and more have changed over the centuries. 


9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Sunday; 211 Main St., Wethersfield

Keeler Tavern Museum
Ridgefield

Pierce Kennedy,6, of Ridgefield plays tic-tac-toe with Christmas ornaments at the Keeler Tavern Museum’s fireside reading of the Polar Express on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 in Ridgefield, Conn. Pierce Kennedy,6, of Ridgefield plays tic-tac-toe with Christmas ornaments at the Keeler Tavern Museum’s fireside reading of the Polar Express on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 in Ridgefield, Conn.

Pierce Kennedy,6, of Ridgefield plays tic-tac-toe with Christmas ornaments at the Keeler Tavern Museum’s fireside reading of the Polar Express on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 in Ridgefield, Conn. Pierce Kennedy,6, of Ridgefield plays tic-tac-toe with Christmas ornaments at the Keeler Tavern Museum’s fireside reading of the Polar Express on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 in Ridgefield, Conn.

Bryan Haeffele / Hearst Connecticut Media

Ridgefield’s Keeler Tavern Museum has been standing since 1713, according to the museum’s website, and has been a farmhouse, tavern, stagecoach stop, post office, hotel for travelers and the home of a noted architect.

That’s a lot of Christmases over the years. This year, the museum will host several Christmas events, including the “A Family Christmas at the Cannonball House” exhibit, an open-house holiday stroll and a multi-weekend Christmas boutique.

11 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday; 152 Main St., Ridgefield

Lockwood-Mathews Mansion
Norwalk

Norwalk’s Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is celebrating the holiday season with “Toys, Trains, and Magnificent Trees: Illuminating Christmas at the Mansion.” Staircase decor is designed by Danna DiElsi, of The Silk Touch; the 12-foot-tall tree is designed by Vandamm Interiors.

Norwalk’s Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is celebrating the holiday season withToys, Trains, and Magnificent Trees: Illuminating Christmas at the Mansion.” Staircase decor is designed by Danna DiElsi, of The Silk Touch; the 12-foot-tall tree is designed by Vandamm Interiors.

Gus Apazidis / Contributed photo

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion is another Connecticut landmark that has been nominated for this year’s USA Today reader's choice historic holiday home tour. This year’s exhibition “Holiday Enchantment at the Mansion” will run through Jan. 9 and will feature Victorian holiday traditions from the 1850s through the 1890s along with 21st-century Christmas trees and seasonal displays. 

9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday; 295 West Ave., Norwalk

 

A Christmas tree decorated in the style of the 1880s as part of The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum exhibit on holiday traditions from the 1860s through the 1930s Tuesday, November 21, 2017, in Norwalk, Conn. Mimi Findlay, the co-chair of the Curatorial Committee at the Museum, designed the 1930s tree and display including the lights and the doll which come from her own childhood.
A Christmas tree decorated in the style of the 1880s as part of The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum exhibit on holiday traditions from the 1860s through the 1930s Tuesday, November 21, 2017, in Norwalk, Conn. Mimi Findlay, the co-chair of the Curatorial Committee at the Museum, designed the 1930s tree and display including the lights and the doll which come from her own childhood.Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media