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Museum to hold Christmas celebration

by Rachel Dickerson | November 24, 2021 at 5:26 a.m.

The Bella Vista Historical Museum will hold a Christmas celebration on Dec. 23 and 24 and will have extended hours Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

The holiday event is called "Christmas in Old Bella Vista," according to Jill Werner, who serves as volunteer coordinator at the museum. It is the first year for this event, but she is hoping to make it an annual happening. The museum's normal hours are 1-5 p.m., but it will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Dec. 23 and 24 for the event. Several activities will be going on, she said, including a sale in the gift shop, a jam giveaway with a donation to the museum, light refreshments and a book signing by co-authors Dale Phillips and Xyta Lucas of their book, "Bella Vista," a pictorial history of the town.

Werner said possibly the Settler's Cabin will be open part of the time and possibly there will be a campfire.

Also, Rick Echols of the POA, husband of museum docent and board member Maci Echols, will make pies that can be ordered in advance and picked up at the event. To order a pie, go to the museum's website at bellavistamuseum.org.

"This is the only event we've had scheduled in a very long time because of the pandemic. We've made plans and canceled them because of the pandemic," Werner said.

The museum will be open extended hours on Thanksgiving weekend and after Christmas so that residents can bring their out-of-town guests to visit, she said.

Thursday through Sunday from 1-5 p.m. are the museum's normal hours, but on the week after Christmas (which falls on Saturday this year) the museum will be open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 1-5 p.m.

The Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving the museum will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Werner said the museum is also seeking volunteer docents to staff the museum.

To work at the museum, volunteers must be fully vaccinated and work four hours a month. Schedules can be flexible, and the day may change every month if the volunteer desires. The museum provides training and volunteers work in pairs so no one is ever alone on the job. Beginners get to learn from a more experienced person, she said.

"It's a great way to meet people, not only from Bella Vista, but from other parts of the country," she said. "The most wonderful people come to the museum, and you really gain an appreciation for our beautiful city, too. Former teachers make the best docents, but you don't have to be a former teacher. You can just be a person who wants to get out and do something good for the city."

If the museum can recruit more docents, it will reopen on Wednesdays and resume its pre-pandemic schedule of Wednesday through Sunday. Werner said the museum was closed from mid-March 2020 through Oct. 21, 2020 due to the pandemic and lost some of its docents due to health issues related to the pandemic. More docents are also needed because the museum is changing from having one docent on duty at any time to two.

"We really have an amazing local museum," she said. "Compared to most local history museums, we're one of the best. Most people drive by without realizing how nice it is on the inside and how big it is on the inside. It's really one of the only truly community places we have.

"If they come out at Christmas time we can celebrate being Bella Vista together," she said.

Print Headline: Museum to hold Christmas celebration

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