The beloved decorating tradition is back—and more festive than ever—with the addition this year of the traditional Chinese interior set to ring in the Chinese New Year! Plus, a new long-term loan, a miniature replica of a Pullman Observation Car that was exhibited at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, is unveiled for the first time.
Several other rooms once again get their seasonal trimmings. Among the most elaborate is the English Drawing Room of the Victorian Period, the only room with a Christmas tree. Now a ubiquitous feature of the season, the Christmas tree or tannenbaum, was only brought to England from Germany in 1840 with the marriage of Prince Albert to Queen Victoria. The Thorne Room tree and accoutrements are based on a famous engraving of the royal couple and their children surrounding a trimmed and toy-bedecked tree, an image that would forever popularize this holiday fixture. Other ornamented rooms include:
The English Great Hall of the Tudor period with a wassailing bowl, yule log, and an essential part of the costuming for that period’s singing-dancing revelers—a mummer’s mask
The Virginia Entrance Hall with mistletoe, wreath, and garland
The French Provincial Bedroom with shoes, or sabots, lined up before the fireplace, a crèche, and puzzle
The modern-era California Hallway with an Otto Natzler mid-century menorah and box with a dreidel
The New Orleans, New Mexico, and the Pennsylvania Dutch (German) rooms filled with regional treats of the season
The 1930s French Library joins with a tiny taste of Art Deco holiday glamour