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 Holiday Memories Exhibit at the Museum on Main Street, Oct 2007-Feb 2008

wchs logo Washtenaw County Historical Society

Holiday Memories

October 17, 2007 – February 10, 2008

holiday banner

People in every culture celebrate holidays. Although the word "holiday" literally means "holy day," most American holidays are not religious, but commemorative in nature and origin. Because we as a nation are blessed with rich ethnic heritage it is possible to trace some of the American holidays to diverse cultural sources and traditions, but all holidays have taken on a distinctively American flavor. In the United States, the word "holiday" is synonymous with "celebration!"

In the strict sense, there are no federal (national) holidays in the United States. Each of the 50 states has jurisdiction over its holidays. In practice, however, most states observe the federal ("legal or public ") holidays, even though the President and Congress can legally designate holidays only for federal government employees.

The focus of “Holiday Memories” will be illustrated by the use of old cards some of which are in our collection. Using the cards to set the theme we will create vignettes in the museum illustrated by stories, pictures and select collection items.

punpkinIn this exhibit, “Holiday Memories,” we will be celebrating Washtenaw County’s’ culturally rich heritage by exploring some of the traditions of celebration and shared memories of the harvest and winter seasons festivities. The primary research for this project is being done by Susan Frekko, Ph.D. who is in the University of Michigan’s museum studies program. Working with museum director, Alice Cerniglia and curator Judy Chrisman, she narrowed the focus to the following celebrations:


October 31

Thanksgiving Day

Fourth Thursday in November


December 4-13 (alternates by year)

Christmas Day

December 25

New Year's

December 31 –January 1

Valentines Day

February 14

Many other celebrations occur during this time span including Columbus Day, Yom Kippur, Veteran’s Day, Kwanza, Sadie Hawkins Day, Washington, and Lincoln’s birthday to name a few. We will include information about these celebrations in our resource materials for this exhibit. Sharing stories, traditions, recipes and games about the different celebrations will be highlighted and featured in the upcoming issues of our newsletter, Impressions. Special thanks to Lisa Klionsky, Carol Mull, Susan Wineberg, Ina Hanel and Grace Shackman for contributing to this exhibit.

Click Here for Holiday Memories Exhibit Photos

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