The History Museum of Western Virginia has sent me information about “Fantasyland,” an annual holiday exhibit that features refurbished Christmas figurines and scheduled visits from the Jolly Old Elf himself. Read on.
“Fantasyland” began in the 1970’s when several downtown businesses donated their retired Christmas figures, first to Downtown Roanoke, Inc., then to the Roanoke Valley History Museum (now History Museum of Western Virginia) to preserve their magic for future generations. Last year, “Fantasyland” was enjoyed by over 4,000 visitors.
“Fantasyland” is a cornucopia of holiday characters harkening back to a simpler time. Children love the elves in Santa’s workshop, the penguins and polar bears in Arctic snow, characters from many countries in a chorus poised to sing songs from around the world and reindeer in their stalls waiting patiently for Santa to hook them to his sleigh and begin their most important journey around the globe. And over the last year the Museum has had many of its lovable characters refurbished, returning them to their original luster.
In a warm and comfortable setting in the History Museum’s library, Santa, dressed in his green shirt with red suspenders and lace up boots, coat hanging on the rack by the fireplace mantel, welcomes visitors of all ages. His unadorned Christmas tree awaits the special ornaments he gives to the children to put on the tree while they are there. Santa teaches important lessons of love and sharing as he tells original stories, sings, plays guitar and piano and interacts with the children through fun activities. The children experience being loved and appreciated as well as learn important lessons about kindness, helpfulness, responsibility, tolerance and love. Children are encouraged to become active in helping to create peace on earth and good will towards all people. Families often come together with the adults and older siblings joining in. Photographs are allowed so visitors may bring cameras.
“Fantasyland” opens at 10 a.m. on November 27, the first Friday after Thanksgiving and closes on Tuesday, December 23 at 4 p.m. Santa has set program times (30 minutes for school groups and 45 minutes for the public.) Call or check our website for program times.
Admission: $5.00 for Adults (18 -59) and Seniors (60+), $3.00 for Children (3 -17)
Free for Children age 2 and under, Free to Museum members.
Donate a non-perishable food item and receive $1.00 off regular admission.
The History Museum of Western Virginia is a division of the Historical Society of Western Virginia, a 501c3 private, non-profit corporation. Museum exhibits and research library comprise the largest collection of material in the Roanoke Valley devoted solely to tracing human history. Exhibits offer a glimpse of how life was lived in southwestern Virginia, creating a vivid cultural and educational experience. A full schedule of rotating exhibits allows the Museum to focus on a variety of people, industries and events that have influenced the development of the region. The Museum also offers a series of tours and programs on topics of historical interest. Tours available upon request.
Open Tuesday through Sunday, with an on-site gift shop.