BY ROBERT KNIGHT
The third and final holiday weekend at the Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives will be held this Sunday, December 17, from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the Dutch sandstone DePew House at 196 Chief Bill Harris Way (Formerly Blaisdell Road) in Orangeburg.
The program, which is open to the public free of charge, is entitled “Sunday in the Museum with George,” and will include a walking tour of the museum and items on display from the private collection of owner George Way of New York City.
Way is a nationally recognized lifelong collector of Dutch, English, and Flemish antiques, including artwork, furniture, and kitchen and dining room implements.
He is one of the most renowned collectors of 16th and 17th century Dutch and English art in the United States.
With Way on hand all afternoon, visitors will get a rare personal tour of the four-room exhibit led by the noted collector, including background tips such as how he acquired each item along with annotated historical tidbits and personal insights to both fascinate and delight.
While adults ”Ooh and Ahh” at the gorgeously staged exhibits, children will also be entertained by an appearance by the original Dutch Sinter Claus, also known by the English as Father Christmas, and called Santa Claus around the world today.
St. Nick will be appropriately dressed in a late 19th century red and white costume. Besides handing out holiday snacks and treats to the children, he will regale them with tidbits of his personal and familial history and let out an occasional “Ho, ho, ho” in response to a particularly appropriate question or comment. Museum Director Mary Cardenas noted that “Santa” also responds to being called “Watson”, one of his many Nome DePlumes in his activist role as a regular museum volunteer.
Last year, Way had his Dutch antique furniture, artwork, and accessories on display in a similar exhibit. The current exhibit is slightly different from such shows since it is devoted to the odd topic of local settlers who remained “Loyal to the Crown,” instead of rebels anxious to break away from Mother England as an independent nation. When the rebels eventually won the Revolutionary War, a few “loyalists” remained in the area, forever under suspicion for being traitors, while most fled the area for Canada, which remained a British colony and welcomed their American neighbors with open arms. That exhibit drew hundreds of visitors during its six-month run at the Orangetown Museum.
Admission to the exhibit and the open house Sunday after both free of charge, Cardenas noted, but donations will be accepted. Refreshments will be available all afternoon.