We’ve been busy.

I apologize for my lack of posts since the very first one. Once Halloween hits, we have to start getting ready for the holidays. That means polishing silver (a lot of silver…), touching up fake food, fluffing boughs of greenery, tracking down misplaced wreaths (three of which we never found!). The list goes on and on.

Agecroft is unique for many reasons, one being that we have both the 17th century and 20th century represented in one museum. This becomes glaringly obvious in our decorations at Christmas time–the 17th century decorations utilize spectacular food and greenery, whereas the 20th century decorations utilize lights, color and a 10 foot Christmas tree.  We go all out for Christmas–although we do different celebration set ups and displays throughout the year, Christmas takes the most time and effort.

Here are some “behind the scenes” photos of decorating the Williams Library!

Untangling some of the 450 lights.

Untangling some of the 450 Christmas tree lights.

Josh, who was just elected the director of tree lighting.

Josh, who was elected the director of tree lighting.

One of our many 'magical' ornaments.

One of our many ‘magical’ ornaments.

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(My apologies, it was raining the day we put up the 17th century Christmas decorations and the house was incredibly dark so none of those photos came out.)

Aside from the decorations, it’s a great time to visit Agecroft to learn about the Christmas season in the 17th century. Unlike the American Christmas celebration of today, Christmas was minor compared to Boxing Day and Twelfth Night.

We hope you’ll come see the finished space–its beautiful and always my most favorite time of year!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

PS: Check out our website (agecrofthall.org) for information on our upcoming events, including Christmas Open House on December 14th!


Welcome! (oh, and Happy Halloween!)

Welcome to the curatorial blog of Agecroft Hall!

We get to do some pretty neat stuff here, as well as some very not neat stuff (I’m looking at you, bug traps…) and we thought it’d be fun to share. Agecroft Hall is one of an innumerable amount of historic houses, each of which comes with its own baggage. You don’t get to be a tourist destination without a neat story! Our historic house was built with materials which now range from over 400 years old to almost 100 years old. Needless to say, we’ve got ‘issues.’ But that’s what makes working here so fun–we literally never know what might pop up on any given day.

For a very brief introduction: I’m Libby, the Manager of Collections/Curator. Currently, the Curatorial/Conservation department is made up of me and two others: Josh, the Assistant Curator and Mary, our contract conservator.

In honor of Halloween, when the veil between the living and the dead is lifted, and the fact that we curate a house that is much older than this country, I have found a brief note about ghosts at Agecroft. Though there is no evidence of ghosts being present in Agecroft where is now sits (though some will disagree), there is evidence of wee ghosties inhabiting Agecroft when it was in England.

George Percy Jacomb-Hood was a portrait painter who was hired to paint family portraits at Agecroft Hall. In his memoir With Brush and Pencil (1929), he recounts a story from his time at Agecroft: “In the old ‘black-and-white’ Agecroft Hall, near Manchester, to which I have before referred, there was supposed to be a well-authenticated ghost, perhaps of John of Gaunt, whose arms appear in one of the stained-glass windows. This perturbed spirit was said to haunt one of the chambers which opened on to the gallery surrounding the central open courtyard. In this room the family muniments and papers were stored, but shortly before my arrival these documents had all been transferred to the lawyer’s office in Manchester. A notice had been written and affixed to the door. ‘Notice to Ghosts! Ghosts wishing to consult the Family Records are referred to the offices of Messrs. So-and-So,–Street, Manchester,’ after which the haunting was supposed to have ceased. I fancy that my bedroom was this record-room converted, but I saw and heard nothing. The only rather strange thing was that I always woke rather suddenly at the uncomfortable hour of two o’clock in the morning.”

The most fun part about this account is that these documents that were transferred to the lawyers’ office are now part of our collection. If the ghost came with them, he’s been very quiet since 1926.

Thanks for reading and please check back next week for another post!