Monday, November 30, 2015

A Quiet Family Dinner: The 2015 Dining Room Display at the c.19th Riversdale House Museum

Today I created the 2015 Christmas Dining Room display for the c. 1801 Riversdale House Museum in Riverdale Park, Maryland. You can click here to read all about this wonderful historic treasure in Prince George's County.

Normally, I use the festive Christmas season to create an elaborate Christmastide ball supper with an array of buffet items appropriate to the very early decades of the 19th century. This year, in keeping with the museum staff's decision to recreate Christmas traditions from multiple time periods, ranging from the middle of the 19th century to the 1930s, I decided to use an 1889 description of a Christmas dinner given by Juliet Corson in her publication entitled, Miss Corson's Practical American Cookery (New York).

Here is Corson's description of a classic old-fashioned Christmas (or even Thanksgiving):

For the current Riversdale House Museum dining room display, I used Corson's description of the Christmas meal as the inspiration for my display. Here is a schematic of how I interpreted it given the faux food objects available at the museum:

Here are some images of this year's design which clearly reflects a simple family gathering of just two traditional courses, not the pomp and circumstance of a lavish ball supper:

Dining Room Table:

 Sideboard with Desserts Awaiting Service:

Visit Riversdale House Museum on
 Wednesday, December 30, 2015 at 6 pm for Riversdale by Candlelight.

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