Tyler resident Dinah Haggerty spent her Thursday night making memories with her granddaughters Zh’mariyah and Jas Marie visiting each of the sites participating in the city's 10th Annual Holiday Open House.
Haggerty said she enjoyed getting to watch her granddaughters' excitement as they participated in each activity at the museums.
“This is very enjoyable,” Haggerty said. “I lost one grandchild last year before Thanksgiving so this opportunity is a blessing.”
The Goodman-LeGrand Museum, The Cotton Belt Depot, Innovation Pipeline, Discovery Science Place, Gallery Main Street, Downtown Tyler Art and Maker Market, Smith County Historical Society, The McClendon House and the Tyler Public Library participated in the open house event.
“This museums event is always extremely popular,” said Beverly Abell of the City of Tyler’s Main Street Department. “One of Downtown Tyler’s best-kept secrets is the marvelous array of museums and cultural facilities we have in the heart of the city, and this event is one way we can share these treasures with the public.”
The McClendon House was a community favorite as dozens visited the house to listen to the Voices of Faith youth Christian choir sing carols as the community walked around the decorated house to capture a glimpse into Christmases past in Tyler.
Gayle Portier and her husband, Ed, were in awe as they walked around the house.
“It was beautiful,” Gayle Portier said. “You can just imagine what it was like hundreds of years ago. There are antiques everywhere. We are going to come back when it’s not Christmas so we can go and read every sign that is in there.”
Ed Portier said people who have not visited the house before are missing out on something special.
“It is really a nice gesture that the city does this,” he said. “The fact that they have era-dressed carolers is pretty neat.”
Walking around the house they were so intrigued with the Christmas decorations that they wanted to do the same for their house.
The McClendon House museum curator, Mary Foster, reflected on an old newspaper clipping with an article about a holiday event held at the house. At the party, the Goodman and LeGrand families ate and played board games until midnight, then danced untll the rooster crowed the next morning in celebration of the holidays. The clipping is a reminder of the life that once filled the historic home.
“The house really takes on a new character during the season,” Foster said. “This is my favorite event; there is nothing like it. We always try to reach as many guests as we can. The house is beautiful on its own, but when we turn on the lights on the first of December it takes on a whole new character. There is something extra, something special. It gets you in the spirit so quickly. It takes you back in time to see how people celebrated.”