Victorian Days at Northeast Georgia History Center


We recently had the privilege of visiting a museum for the first time to enjoy the Christmas Victorian Days at the Northeast Georgia History Center in Gainesville.

The experience was truly an educational and entertaining one with several people re-enacting the period of the first real Christmas in England. The actors who played the part of the people from the mid to late 19th century did a superb job in showing what the Victorian Christmas was like.

A display at the museum depicts the typical early form of transportation.

Traditionally the Christmas tree which we all associate with the festive Christmas season began with the royal family in England when they first decorated a tree in the Buckingham palace in the early 1840s. It seems that is where the custom of decorating the “Christmas trees” first took shape. It is suggested through the first pictures of the family that the Queen removed her royal crown for the pictures to appear less intimidating and more natural for the public. You can say since that day the Christmas tree tradition took off and is now a custom in America as well as many other countries, too.

Just two of the many Victorian period actors on hand that day. Kat Nagar (left) also showed the visitors the traditional Victorian dance.

The many actors at the museum that day also had special exhibits which showed visitors the Victorian way of decorating the trees using a string of popcorn and cranberries. Visitors were allowed to try their hand at that and could also sample some of the traditional Christmas treats of the Victorian period.

Fruitcakes and ginger cookies were pretty much standard treats that we still enjoy today, that is if you like fruitcakes!

Several of the actors wore the traditional Victorian dress and held different demonstrations of the period times. There were even dance lessons by Kat Peng Nagar if you were eager to try.

A beautiful bronze statue of children playing a carefree game is displayed in the veteran’s park just outside the museum. It has one opening for visitors to grasp the hands of the children and play with them.

Later in the Education Center the children and the actors were able to try their dancing skills to the music of that era after a special reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” The kids even had a chance to express their acting skills in the skit “A Christmas Carol” to everyone’s enjoyment. Needless to say everyone who attended the free event had a great time and enjoyed learning about the special Victorian days at Christmas time!

Families were welcome to the event at the museum that day, and different crafts for the children were offered as we see here in this Victorian card making session.

Out in the Rotunda visitors could also make a special Victorian Christmas card or ornament for their tree.
The event, held from 1 to 5 p.m., included all the displays at the museum with their hundreds of special exhibits showcasing North Georgia’s amazing history.

One of the first cotton weaving machines inside the museum depicts the earlier factories which spun the cotton for clothing.

The museum is open to members from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday but also has many free events held during the year. Membership is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for students.

Just outside the museum is a larger display of a typical “cracker style” cabin home open to visitors.

Victorian Days is only one of several held during the year. Visitors were also welcome to visit all the other exhibits as well as the Freedom Garden, a beautiful outside garden that is a living tribute to all American veterans. One of the main focal points is a circle of life-size bronze statues of children celebrating the American freedom.

Some of the other exhibits that are always on display and portray the growth and vast history of Northeast Georgia include the Main Gallery, with hundreds of exhibits spanning thousands of years with artifacts, art and pottery.

Outside in the Veterans’
Memorial Garden one could search through the engraved names of fallen soldiers from all divisions of the military.

Also, in the Sports Hall of Fame, visitors can see some of the famous local sportsmen who have become sport legends and call Northeast Georgia their home.

You can see how the poultry business began in Georgia and see some very old office equipment and the advancement of our technology throughout the years.

A poultry display at the museum shows the importance of the state’s poultry business.

Also on the grounds just behind the museum is the original “White Path” cabin, once home to the Cherokee Tribal leader White Path himself in the late 1700s. The cabin was relocated to the museum in 1995, and an original blacksmith’s shop is on the grounds, too.

This damaged statue of Col. C.C. Sanders, a Confederate officer, serves
as a reminder of a deadly tornado that once passed through Gainesville.

The Northeast Georgia History Center originated at the Green Street Fire House in Gainesville and then in 2004 moved to its new location on the Brenau University campus where it serves a 13-county area.

Another display shows the very early settlers to Georgia, the Cherokee Indians.

They often have free family and education events at the facility. To learn more, visit I think you too will agree learning can be fun!