Melissa Wakeling: Glanmore at Christmas
Glanmore National Historic Site is Belleville’s treasured community museum. Built in 1882-1883 for John and Harriet Phillips, it was the residence of four generations of the Phillips family until 1971 when the home was purchased to become a museum. Today, it cares for approximately 25,000 artifacts displayed in restored period room settings. In addition, it promotes displays of local history, special annual exhibits and educational programs.
A lunch out-on-the-town at one of Belleville’s many great cafes or restaurants and an afternoon visit to Glanmore is a wonderful way to beat the winter blahs. Glanmore is open to the public in the afternoons throughout the winter, Tuesday to Sunday from 1:00 to 4:30 pm.
If you don’t feel like going out on a chilly winter day, you can curl up in a comfy chair and explore Glanmore virtually. The 360° virtual tour utilizes the same technology real estate companies use for online house tours. Simply click around on your screen to travel through the museum on your device. Even if you have visited Glanmore before, this can be a fun way to go beyond the rope barriers and experience rooms and artifacts from a totally new perspective.
Or if the weather is fine and you feel like getting out into the fresh air to enjoy a sunny winter’s day, you can always take a walk through Belleville’s Old East Hill neighbourhood. Glanmore’s Old East Hill Audio Walking Tour begins outside the historic site, located at 257 Bridge Street East, Belleville, and provides a 30-40 minute route walking at your own pace. It ends a few blocks away at the Corby Rose Garden. What a fun way to explore the Belleville community and learn a bit more about local history.
The 360° virtual tour and the audio tour, as well as other fun digital activities are available free of charge from Glanmore’s website. Simply visit https://www.glanmore.ca/en/explore-and-learn/fun-games.aspx to get started.
As 2022 comes to an end, the staff at Glanmore is already knee-deep in holiday celebrations. The garland is hung, bows tied, trees decorated and antique toys feature in our seasonal displays. In its holiday finery, the historic house looks spectacular. Hundreds of excited school children will visit in December to learn about an 1890s Christmas in Belleville and share some of their own family traditions with us. Many residents in the Bay of Quinte area make it a tradition to visit Glanmore at this time of year to engage in the spirit of the season.
Early in the New Year, Glanmore will be busy with two important restoration projects. Carpeting in the dining room and master bedroom will be replaced with reproduction Wilton carpets. The current dining room carpet, which, believe it or not, is about one hundred years old and understandably showing its age, will be replaced. Hours of painstaking research using historic photographs of these rooms has guided this project which began several years ago. Just like replacing the carpet in one’s home, the rooms need to be emptied to facilitate the installation. Working in a room decorated in a high-Victorian style, characterized by cluttered surfaces, we will be packing up all the fragile antiques in preparation. Once all is put back together again we will be excited to show off our ‘new’ old look.
2023 marks two significant anniversaries at Glanmore National Historic Site: the 140th anniversary of its construction and the 50th anniversary of the opening of the museum. These anniversaries give the museum a unique opportunity to look to the future, reflect, and celebrate. Plans are well underway to share these celebrations with the community. Watch out for the return of our popular anniversary fair on the lawn, a 1970s themed special exhibit, as well as craft making, theatrical and musical experiences.
Becoming a museum member ensures you will not miss any of the anniversary fun. Yes, new for 2023, Glanmore is introducing museum memberships. Individual and family memberships offer a reasonably priced way to stay informed and enjoy everything Glanmore has to offer throughout the year. Membership has many benefits: unlimited free general admission and to special exhibitions, a fifteen percent discount on programs and on most items in our gift shop. Also advance booking priveleges for ‘Glanmore by Gaslight’ signature Christmas Tours and our members only e-newsletter. More information about memberships can be found at www.glanmore.ca and of course, a membership would make a perfect Christmas gift.