Friday, December 31, 2010

Lets Celebrate the New Year!

We are getting ready to close down 2010 with a wonderful celebration at the Historic Williamson County Courthouse. The Museum is hosting the first ball in the courthouse and will be Unmasking the New Year under the rotunda!

This is always such an exciting time of year celebrated all over the world. People gather with friends and loved ones and often partake in very specific actions. Here are some fun traditions to keep in mind.

Food seems to be closely associated with bringing good luck in the New Year. It is common knowledge in this country that black-eyed peas will bring you good luck, but other cultures eat cabbage and rice to bring prosperity. In Mexico, people eat 12 grapes at midnight while making a wish for each grape. The Dutch believe eating donuts brings good luck. This stems from the belief that round objects are lucky as they symbolize "coming full circle."

Toasting and kissing your partner are very common traditions, but if you are superstitious you might want to take note of the following. To increase prosperity, make sure you have money in your pocket and your cupboard is full when the New Year comes. To increase happiness year-round, don't wash your hair and wear red. Launch a broom out your font door at midnight to get bad vibes out of your home. Dress well throughout the year by receiving the New Year in new clothes. Finally, evil spirits hate loud noise, so be as loud as possible tonight when receiving the New Year.
We wish you much luck and happiness in the New Year and hope to see you at the Museum in 2011.

Volunteer and Membership Coordinator

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Home for the Holidays

The Staff at The Williamson Museum hopes you had a wonderful and safe holidays spent with friends and family, celebrating traditions old and new. 

If your family is anything like mine, we all get together and share memories from 'the good ole days' when Grandma and Grandpa were first married, and Grandpa's service years in the Navy- which always prompts the pulling down of the dusty photo album off the top shelf.

The holidays are one of the few times when all the kids and all the grand kids get together- and while you are up in the attic pulling down boxes of Christmas decorations, maybe you stumble across Grandpa's old trunk, filled with old photos, letters, photographs, etc.  Lots of times, people don't have children to pass things down to, or they feel that things are too silly, or frivolous and that nobody would want them.... WROOONNGG!!!

Your local Museum, heritage society, or history center would love to share your memories!!! These local institutions tell the stories of the families, and businesses in your community. It's through these memories, letters, photographs, and keepsakes that they can further preserve the cultural heritage of your community. So, when you gather up a box of old "junk", call your local Museum, Heritage Society, or Library before you cart if off to the dump. Your community will thank you.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

History Note: Georgetown's Christmas Cash Crop

When we consider Williamson County's rich agricultural past, we most often think of cotton.  But the area was once well known for a surprising seasonal crop: mistletoe!

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that attaches itself to the branches of a host tree.  While it does not usually kill trees, foresters consider it a pest.  It was W. E. Thies, a used furniture store owner in Georgetown, who first turned this local pest into a holiday commodity.  He began harvesting mistletoe and shipping it out at Christmastime, and other folks soon caught on to the idea. 

A 1952-1953 Texas Almanac noted that Christmas mistletoe was being shipped in large quantities from Georgetown.  During that time period, the Central Texas area shipped as much as a half a million pounds of the crop each December.  Georgetown was such an important producer of mistletoe that it was even dubbed "The Kissing Capital of the World!"

From all of us at The Williamson Museum, in The Kissing Capital of the World, Happy Holidays!

Cowboys and Cocoa and Christmas Around the World!

Wow!  December has really been a whirlwind!  We at the museum kicked off the Christmas season with Cowboys and Cocoa during the Georgetown annual Stroll event.  A cowboy and several ladies came by to hand out hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies to the hungry pedestrians on the square that evening.
Cowboy Joe Gonzalez serves hot cocoa and cookies

Today, we celebrated the several immigrant cultures that are found in Williamson County with our Christmas Around the World event.  Jan Faubion shared her expertise about how to make traditional Swedish straw ornaments, while Round Rock Ballet Folklorico came and taught us about the Mexican Posada tradition.  To top it all off, we had the Taylor Czech Chorus out to sing traditional Czech Christmas carols!  The children who visited the museum during the event made traditional ornaments from the Mexican, Swedish, Czech, and German traditions.  We had many luminarias, pickle ornaments, woven Swedish heart basket ornaments, and German scherenschnitt schneeflocke (scissor cut snow flakes) running through the museum!
Jan Faubion teaches the children about Swedish straw ornaments

Children making Czech pickle ornaments

A member of Round Rock Ballet Folklorico teaches our volunteers about the 7 points on the pinata

The Taylor Czech Chorus sings Czech carols

It was a wonderful event and was a great way to really get into the Christmas spirit.  I hope that wherever you are, you may also feel the warmth and goodwill that we felt here in the museum today.  Happy Holidays!

Looking for unique gifts.

The Williamson Museum can help you.

  • Give the gift of history by buying a Williamson Museum membership.
  • Visit the Museum Store.  We have historic toys, great history related books, jewelery, hand made soap, a poster of Texas Courthouses, cooking aprons and much, much more.
Proceeds from the store help support ongoing programs and exhibits.