Fairfield County Museum Hosts Christmas Open House Sunday

The Fairfield County Historical Society has set the date for the Museum’s annual Christmas Open House for Sunday afternoon, Dec. 2, from 4 to 7 p.m. There will be several new additions to the traditional event. A collection of Tim Wilkes’s Victorian silver and majolica ceramics will open the Museum’s new display space on the second floor, and antique piano expert Tom Strange will perform on and talk about the museum’s 1854 Newman and Brothers piano.

Wilkes was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. but grew up in Blackstock and Winnsboro. He served as a State House Representative for Fairfield and the surrounding areas for several terms during the 1980s and 90s. Mr. Wilkes says he began collecting antiques when he was in his twenties. He is also a painter in his own right, and quite knowledgeable about American artists. He has amassed several warehouses full of antiques, art, and jewelry, both American and from abroad. Since has retirement, he is planning to begin opening (several!) antique stores in downtown Winnsboro. We have all been peering through the papered windows and hope to see this happen soon, perhaps by Christmas.

Tom Strange of Greenville, Director of Research and Development at St. Jude Medical is the author of thirty eight patents and numerous papers covering all aspects of capacitor development, introducing new technologies at that continue to define state of the art in implantable medical devices for both pacing and arrhythmia correction. On the side, he is  an authority on antique square pianos. He recently purchased an 1834 piano that turned out to be the companion instrument to the Museum’s 1854 Newman and Brothers piano, both from the Lyles family plantation. Tom will present a selection of period music on the Museum’s piano with an accompanying presentation on the history of the square parlor pianos of the Nineteenth Century.

In addition, guests will be regaled with the beloved performances of our community’s own musical talents. Scheduled are the Johnson family’s string and pipes quartet, Brian Ogburn’s bagpipes (perhaps also his silver flute), Kerry Matthews’s soprano tones, and the contemporary sounds of Jeanie Roundy, Lynn Douglass, Sue Miller, and others who make up the “Halfway There” performers. Other musicians not yet announced will join the lineup. Lastly, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the annual sing-along around the piano involving everyone capable of vocalizing to bring in the season!

The garden clubs of our town and country are preparing to festoon the halls and rooms in the spirit of the season. The Fairfield County Historical Society will provide refreshments for the public event. The annual event functions as our community’s traditional heralding in of the Christmas season.