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Longfellow Home Hosts Holiday Open House

Marissa Cheifetz, a member of the Longfellow holiday open house’s staff, describes the Longfellows’ holiday menu to a visitor at Friday evening’s open house.
Marissa Cheifetz, a member of the Longfellow holiday open house’s staff, describes the Longfellows’ holiday menu to a visitor at Friday evening’s open house. By Michelle M. Ng
By Jamila M. Coleman, Contributing Writer

Residents of Cambridge ushered in the holiday season with a visit to the festively decorated home of renowned American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Friday evening.

The fourth annual event featured tours of the estate and craft tables for making Christmas cards and Victorian-era fashion dolls. Within the historic space, the artifacts showcased for display were themed in accordance with the holiday season. Longfellow House on Brattle Street also served as George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War’s siege of Boston.

“This house has an amazing collection,” said Garrett Cloer, a park ranger and volunteer coordinator at the Longfellow House. “Everything in it belonged to members of the Longfellow family and we have special holiday-related things... So there’s a lot of gifts, toys, there’s letters to and from Santa Claus.”

With a small staff of only six people, the Longfellow House relied heavily upon collaboration between employees from different branches of the National Park Service within Massachusetts along with the efforts of many volunteers to put the event together, according to Cloer.

“We have everybody from the archives staff, the museum collections staff, and we also have people from the national park sites in Brookline that we’re affiliated with, that come over and help us out for this program,” Cloer said. “It’s a big endeavor for our site.”

Volunteers and attendees alike said they enjoyed the family atmosphere and the festive spirit.

“It’s a great event for the kids,” said Karen H. Avery, who attended with her family.

Adrienne L. Sharigian, a volunteer from the Olmsted national historic site, said she was excited “to see this event in action.”

“It’s nice to see the house and the surrounding landscape decorated for the holidays,” she added.

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