Volunteers from the Ward-Thomas Museum have been decorating the historic house since the first week of November and expect to have it ready for visitors in time for the holiday open house on Sunday.
Under the direction of Nancy Malone, each of the 14 rooms in the mansion have been decorated for the holidays, including the trimming of the Christmas tree in the parlor and a private display of Santa Claus figurines in the dining room.
Throughout the house on display are the first ladies gowns collection, which includes life-size replicas of the gowns worn by presidential first ladies during the nation's inaugural balls. All of the gowns worn by Ohio first ladies are displayed in the library. Also displayed in the library is a rosewood piano, constructed in 1885. This rare, Ahlstrom square grand piano with its ornately carved legs was originally owned by George J. and Hannah Harris Taylor in the late 1800s. Their daughters, Allie and Etta Taylor, took lessons on the piano, which was later owned by Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Behner, who ultimately donated the instrument to the museum.
The Niles Historical Society will be sponsoring the first of two Christmas open houses at the Ward Thomas Museum from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the historic house located at 503 Brown St. Pictured, from left, are Carol Souders, docent; Audrey John, curator; and Betty Whitney, president of the Niles Historical Society.
During the December open house, which will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, the 127-year old piano will be played by guest Margaret Ellis.
The Ward Thomas Museum was built 150 years ago and is maintained by the Niles Historical Society. The house is open to the public the first Sunday of each month throughout the year. Private tours are available for groups and organizations by calling 330-544-2143.
Admission during the open house is $5 for adults and free for children ages 11 and younger.
The museum is located at 503 Brown St., one block east of state Route 46 on the south side of Niles.
Memberships in the Niles Historical Society also are available. Dues are $15 for a single membership or $25 for a family membership. To become a member, send a check with information to Niles Historical Society, P.O. Box 368, Niles, OH, 44426.