The Farmers’ Museum brings ‘lantern tours’ back for another December

Tours end at Todd’s General Store, open this year for holiday shopping. (contributed)

The Farmers’ Museum brings ‘lantern tours’ back for another December

By Ted Potrikus • Special to

Holiday Lantern Tours return this December to The Farmers’ Museum — evening events guiding visitors through museum grounds by lantern light with talks on the history of December holidays, including Christmas, and how they were celebrated in Upstate New York in years past.

Deb Anderson, Museum interpreter and assistant to the director of education, said the hour-long tours “give visitors a real picture of what people in this part of New York State would do to celebrate the season every December.”

“In the 1840s, Christmas celebrations specifically were just coming into vogue,” she said. “We walk people through the traditional Yule and Winter Solstice of the era, the first Christmas card, the music, the introduction of the Christmas tree. We try to touch on all of the things that made the festivities of December so special in our region.”

“This year, we’re expanding to take a look at the celebrations from the 1820s to pre-Civil War times,” she said. “We end at Todd’s General Store, which will be open this year, and we’re adding new components for children to make it a fun and interactive experience for them.”

She said she and The Farmers’ Museum are excited to present the tours for a second year.

“The pandemic kept us from hosting our Candlelight Evening in 2020,” she said. “We were so disappointed, of course, but when we offered the smaller lantern tours as an option, they became a big hit. The guided tours are more intimate and we all find ourselves having the best conversations about all the stops along the way.”

“We’re an educational facility at heart,” she said. “We love the ‘a-ha!’ moment that people feel when they learn the difference between cooking on an open hearth and cooking on a wood stove. They’ll look at the decorations we’ve made and want to know how we did it. We can show them!”

Ms. Anderson said the Museum was nonetheless disappointed that pandemic protocol once again this year blocked the popular Candlelight Evening.

“Our Board of Directors is committed first to the safety of the community and every person who visits,” she said. “When we had to cancel Candlelight this year, we had that moment of disappointment — but then jumped right in to scheduling the weekly tours.”

Last year’s full schedule of lantern tours sold out. Tours take place on Fridays and Saturdays in December (December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18), beginning at 3 p.m. and running every 20 minutes. The final tour each day begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are available on $18 for adult members (13+), $20 for adult non-members (13+), $10 for juniors (7-12), and $5 for children (3-6). Reservations are required and no walk-ins are accepted.

Each tour is limited to 12 people, lasting approximately one hour and held mostly outdoors. Tours beginning between 3 and 4 p.m. occur during daylight; visitors with potential mobility issues should contact the Museum in advance to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.

For more information, call 607-547-1456 or e-mail This year’s program is sponsored in part by NYCM Insurance and the Otsego County government.

Learn about December tavern life in upstate New York


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