f you’re seeking historic holiday cheer, visit the Ben Ferrel Platte County Museum from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10-12 when this Victorian home at 220 Ferrel Street, Platte City, will be open for an “Old-Fashioned Christmas” celebration.
Guests can participate in a guided or self-guided tour of this mini mansion filled with heirlooms from and décor inspired by the past. The kitchen, for example, features a tree festooned with candles and ornaments of dried persimmon and orange slices with milkweed floss serving as tinsel. The children’s room features many ornaments and toys from the 1800s to mid-1900s. In total, six rooms and trees are highlighted on the tour.
Sue Hurd Van Amburg organizes this annual Christmas event for Platte County Historical Society, which owns and operates the museum. Volunteers who decorate the rooms include Van Amburg (exterior and foyer); Joyce Taylor (children’s room); Evie Knodel, Jamie Knodel and Janice Robinson (dining room); Kathy Mitchell (sitting room); Platte Purchase Chapter of the DAR (parlor); Sandra Ely (master bedroom); Lisa Wittmeyer (kitchen).
After touring the mini mansion, visitors will be able to sample either Springerle or Pfeffernusse. These traditional Christmas cookies honor the German heritage of the immigrant Frederick Krause who built this mini mansion for his family in 1882.
As part of this, the museum is displaying cookie molds with centuries-old designs and a Springerle recipe from The Richest Soil Grows the Deepest Roots. This recently published historical memoir by Helen Ruth Poss and her daughter Liz Marr, intertwines Ruth’s memories growing up on her family farm in the Missouri River bottoms of Platte County during the Great Depression and World War II with her family story across five generations. Like many families who came to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century, Ruth and Liz’s ancestors passed along recipes like Springerle, one of many featured in the book.
As part of an historical society fundraiser during the museum’s open hours in December, guests can purchase the book alone or at a discount if combined with an historical society gift membership.
Van Amburg encourages families to consider a membership and to bring their children to the museum’s Christmas display: “This is an opportunity in the heart of Platte County for everyone, children and adults alike, to connect with Christmas past and make memories in the present.”
Museum admission is $5 for adults and free for historical society members and children under 12.
For more information about an Old-Fashioned Christmas at the Ben Ferrel Platte County Museum or to schedule a group tour, call (816) 431-5121.