Experience the magic of a Victorian-style Christmas through the end of December through authentic 1800s architecture and furniture adorned with lights, garland, trees, and Christmas knickknacks at the Reitz Home Museum at 112 Chestnut St.
The Reitz Home Victorian Christmas tours presented by the A & E Igleheart Foundation are available from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through Dec. 30, except when the museum is closed on Dec. 24-25. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $2.50 for students, and $1.50 for children under the age of 12.
Tours begin in the carriage house behind the Reitz Home, where visitors can view a 13-minute video depicting the Reitz family, particularly John Augustus Reitz’s immigration from Prussia in the 1830s and how he made his fortune off Evansville’s booming sawmill industry. Visitors then are guided through all 12 decorated rooms across the museum’s two floors.
“The Reitz Home reminds me so much of the house at Christmas time in the classic Christmas film ‘Meet Me in St Louis,’” says Reitz Home Museum executive director Matt Rowe. “It’s remarkably similar in the style of the decor, which seems to be exactly of this period.”
Completed in 1871, the French Second Empire-style home was the former home of Reitz, a prominent Evansville businessman and philanthropist, and serves as the city’s only Victorian house museum.
“The Reitz Home is unique in that its mostly furnished with original furnishings that were purchased by the family to go in the house, and the historic interior, interior architecture, and decorative arts are all perfectly intact,” says Rowe. “At Christmas time, I think it has even enhanced the experience. It makes people nostalgic, and it really plays to our ideas of an old-fashioned, traditional Christmas. People love it.”
From 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, the mansion will be open for self-guided candlelight tours featuring hundreds of battery-powered candles and Christmas lights illuminating the home’s stunning stained glass.
“That’s a unique opportunity to see the house in the evening, when we have all of the lights turned down and the candles and Christmas lights (on),” says Rowe. “It’s a pretty spectacular thing to have people in the mansion here at night.”