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Mahoning Valley Historical Society will open the 12th Annual Memories of Christmas Past exhibit at Arms Family Museum, 648 Wick Avenue, Youngstown, OH on Saturday, November 23, 2019 and will run through Sunday, January 5, 2020. This season’s overall theme will be “By the Fireside.” Inspired by the museum’s mix of fireplaces from the Arts and Crafts Design Movement and later architectural styles, the fireside theme represents the heart of the home and an icon of holiday celebrations.

MVHS will be bringing its12-year tradition of all new design themes for each of the main floor’s 7 period rooms. The exhibit, as well as the gift shop, will feature a blend of new and vintage objects, making the museum visit a distinctive holiday experience. From European to Asian influences, 19th century to Mid-Century Modern, and vibrant color palettes to nature’s hues, each room will be designed to showcase the many ways Christmas is celebrated. Anthony Worrellia, Memories of Christmas Past Designer since 2008 and avid vintage Christmas collector, plans the exhibit and searches for artifacts throughout the year. He and his team of volunteers and staff begin the installation in late-September.

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Open Hours

Regular open hours for Memories of Christmas Past at Arms Family Museum are Tuesday through Sunday from Noon to 4:00 p.m. The holiday exhibit will be open during evening hours for its Twilight Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. It will also be open for special hours on Monday, December 23, 2019 from Noon to 7:00 p.m. Additionally, Arms Family Museum will be a featured venue at the First Night Youngstown celebration on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 from Noon to 7:00 p.m. The museum will be closed on all other Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

The Mahoning Valley Historical Society also operates Tyler History Center and its Gift Shop at 325 W. Federal Street in downtown Youngstown, which is open to the public during regular hours, Tuesday through Sunday from Noon to 4:00 p.m. It will also be open from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for Twilight at Tyler, as part of the Youngstown Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting events going on in Downtown Youngstown on Friday, December 6, 2019. Family activities will be in the Tyler History Center lobby, partnering with OH WOW!, The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology.

New Admissions Entry

MVHS will be establishing a new entry point for Memories of Christmas Past in the adjacent Carriage House building directly behind Arms Family Museum, just steps away from the entrance. Within the new admissions area will be a special display wall demonstrating the facilities, collections, and programming MVHS offers. In addition, visitors will have the chance to view the permanent exhibit of the Business & Media Archives of the Mahoning Valley, established from many artifacts donated by Warren P. Williamson Jr., founder of the WKBN Broadcasting Corporation.


Admission costs for this season will be $10 for Adults, $9 for Seniors (60+) and College Students (with I.D. card), and $8 for Children (3-18). Admission is free for Toddlers (under 3), MVHS Members, and new for 2019, Active Military and Military Veterans (with I.D. card). The admission fee covers visits to both MVHS sites for that particular day.

Special Discounts

In addition to the free admission exemptions, MVHS will provide $1 off coupons in many of its holiday exhibit advertisements.

The historical society will be partnering with WFMJ & WBCB, along with Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley, in supporting the Feed Our Valley campaign by collecting canned goods in the admissions entry. Visitors may bring as many food items as they wish to donate and will receive half-price admission for Memories of Christmas Past at Arms Family Museum during the first week of the exhibit—Saturday, November 23 through Sunday, December 1, 2019.

For people attending the First Night Youngstown celebration on December 31, 2019, half-price admission will be offered to Arms Family Museum visitors, who wear the First Night wristbands. Tyler History Center will not be open during the First Night event.

Gift Shop

With the move of admissions to the Carriage House building, MVHS expects the flow of visitors to be improved through the gift shop and service hallway, prior to guests beginning their tour of the house museum. The outer vestibule will not only afford the gift shop with more display area for merchandise but continues to accommodate space for storing coats, hats, umbrellas, etc. One much-anticipated tradition of Memories of Christmas Past is the combination of new and vintage merchandise for sale. No discounts will apply to vintage merchandise.

New Photography Policy

MVHS will now allow visitors to take NON-FLASH photos with their digital devices as they tour the house museum. While the historical society prioritizes the best practices of artifact preservation and security, it wishes to accommodate the holiday spirit and tour experience for its guests. This year’s theme, “By the Fireside,” will provide a variety of decorated backgrounds for selfies, in addition to the photo areas in the Lower Level for larger group photos.

Gingerbread House Display

The 3rd Annual Gingerbread House Exhibit, sponsored by Wedgewood Pizza, will fill the museum’s solarium with many entries provided by the community and staff members. MVHS and SMARTS Community Art School conducted two youth workshops in November, providing the exhibit locally created gingerbread works of art.

Additional Gallery Exhibits

Arms Family Museum’s second floor houses multiple galleries with rotating exhibits. During Memories of Christmas Past, visitors will experience new and refreshed exhibits. Tod Family Treasures and Enchanted Evenings were installed in 2019, along with more artifacts displayed in the B.F. Wirt Collection Gallery. The Story of My House and Mid-Century Modern in the Mahoning Valley showcase the design movements that span the time that Olive Arms lived in her home at 648 Wick Avenue. The main, upstairs hallway will also feature the holiday-themed display of
Greetings of the Season: Vintage Greeting Cards, which is on loan for the exhibit by Jane Feuer, a Pittsburgh-based collector of holiday artifacts.

New Activities for Families on Lower Level

The Hands On History Room at Arms Family Museum will once again be transformed into a Christmas-themed experience for visitors of all ages. Santa’s Village, sponsored by MACY’s GIVES, will be an interactive space to enjoy photo opportunities with new holiday dress-up props, crafting activities, and a Santa Showcase. Also new this year will be Santa’s Story Hour on Sundays, starting at 2:00 p.m. Classic Holiday stories will be read aloud in a special reading nook. MVHS staff and volunteers will also be serving hot cocoa during this reading time. Additionally, local MACY’s employees will be assisting staff at Memories of Christmas Past as their way of supporting the Mahoning Valley during the holidays.

Special Crafting Workshop

From Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 8, 2019, MVHS will instruct a holiday ornament-making workshop for all ages. There will be designs and crafts for all ability levels, including the most experienced crafters. The workshop will be located in the Carriage House building directly behind Arms Family Museum. Traci Manning, MVHS Curator of Education, will provide instruction.

Behind the Ropes Tours

MVHS will be offering two Behind the Ropes tours, led by Anthony Worrellia, on consecutive Tuesdays, December 10 and 17, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Guests will get close-up views and the history behind Christmas vintage items and the inspiration for each room design. Call 330-743-2589 to make reservations for these special tours. Reservation will be required, as tour group sizes are limited. Cost of admission, including the special tour, will be $15 per person. Other discounts will not apply to these Behind the Ropes tours.

MVHS Members

Open to the historical society’s members, sponsors, and special guests will be an invitation-only Preview Party, prior to the exhibit opening to the public. MVHS members will also receive free admission for any visits to its museums, as well as, a 10% discount on Gift Shop merchandise, excluding vintage items. Linda Kostka, MVHS Development Director, can be contacted at 330-743-2589, ext. 125, or for membership details and sign-ups.

Volunteering Opportunities

MVHS asks the community for assistance with volunteering with Memories of Christmas Past or any other of its operations throughout the year. Please contact Belinda Weiss, Curatorial Assistant, at 330-743-2589, ext. 123, or for more information.


Mahoning Valley Historical Society wishes to thank its sponsors for supporting the 12th Annual Memories of Christmas Past exhibit—Anne Kilcawley Christman Foundation; MACY’s GIVES; The DeBartolo Corporation; Virginia Dineen; Huntington Bank; Chris & Kris Jaskiewicz; Wedgewood Pizza; Delliquadri Landscaping; Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; Tips To Toes; Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau; Dearing Compressor; WFMJ; Farmers Trust Company; Boardman Printing; Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell; CR Electric; Prout Boiler Heating and Welding; Christopher & Kimberly Urig; and Kathy Wozniak. Sponsors listed here are secured as of 11/14/2019.