The Clayton Family will welcome the public to their Christmas Open House Sunday, December 11, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. The restored, circa 1882 Victorian mansion of the chief prosecutor of Judge Isaac C. Parker’s court is located at 514 North 6th Street. The event is free; donations of canned goods for a food pantry and donations toward the upkeep of the historic house museum are welcome.


Guests will find the home beautifully decorated with a white winter wonderland theme. Activities will include Christmas music played on the 1884 orchestral square grand piano in the drawing room by history enthusiast and musician Marion Laird. Cookies and punch will be served in the formal dining room. A Victorian Santa Claus will hear Christmas wishes and pose for photographs in the sitting room. At 2:00 p.m., members of the Fort Smith Chorale will perform carols and Christmas hymns in the formal parlor. Crafts taking place in the servant quarters will include lace candy cane tree ornaments and fanciful Victorian fans.


Reenactors of the 9-member Clayton family, who lived in the home from 1882 to 1897, will serve punch and lead guests to the various activities. The Clayton family included U.S Attorney Wm. H. H. Clayton and his wife, Florence, and their six daughters and one son. The family’s close friends, Judge and Mrs. Isaac C. Parker, will also visit with guests.


“This event is a happy culmination of our year of serving the community and nation as an irreplaceable living history book,” Julie Moncrief, executive director, says. “With the music and our wonderful Santa and everyone enjoying free roam of the house, this cheerful-to-the-max community event is not to be missed.”


The Fort Smith Chorale, led by director Bill Cromer, performs a concert of harmony that fills all the parlors. “We are grateful to the Chorale, and they all love to perform in this very special venue,” Moncrief says. “We can all imagine that such a lovely gesture of caroling took place in this home more than 100 years ago.”


For more information, call the museum at 783-3000 or visit its website at www.claytonhouse.org.