Niles History Center to host special evening open house

Published 8:31 am Tuesday, December 7, 2021

NILES — The last chance for visitors to see the Historic Chapin Mansion decorated for the holidays will be from 4 to 7 p.m.  Saturday, Dec. 11 as the Niles History Center will host a special Evening Open House.

Attendees will have the opportunity to see the Fort St. Joseph Museum and Chapin Mansion all dressed up for the holidays decorated by various community groups and businesses in the theme for the year: “Winter Wonderland.”

“We have some amazing collections on display this year,” said History Center Director Christina Arseneau. “Decorations include hand-crafted objects, antiques, and family treasures. Mickey Mouse, Candyland, the Grinch, and Santa’s Workshop will appeal to the young at heart, while elegant winter décor adds holiday cheer for all. The Fort St. Joseph Museum has displays with historical Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer items and French Colonial Christmas themes, such as Père Noel and the Flying Canoe.”

At 5:30 p.m., Angela Caddy, a Niles police officer and Chapin Mansion docent, will present a special program called “Krampus: The Darker Side of Christmas in Germany.” While many people enjoy illuminating holiday traditions brought to America with German immigrants, including Christmas trees, advent wreaths and mulled wine, few have been introduced to the character Krampus, event organizers said.

Caddy will discuss the folklore of Krampusnacht and show an array of Krampus memorabilia from the 1800s through the present.

In addition to touring the Mansion and Museum, scavenger hunts will be available for children. Handmade ornaments created by the Niles Art Association will be for sale as well as an array of gifts for history fans. Admission to the Holiday Evening Open House is free, and all ages are invited.

The Niles History Center is located at 508 E. Main St., Niles.

For more information, nileshistorycenter.org or call (269) 845-4054.