At Morristown’s Acorn Hall, the trees are trimmed and the table elegantly set, ready for holiday guests to arrive. But before they do, members of the community are invited to visit the Morris County Historical Society’s Italianate mansion to enjoy its festive décor.
The decorated, upside-down Christmas tree in the dining room not only is a traditional centerpiece of Acorn Hall’s holiday décor, but this year is a tribute to and celebration of the lives of the late Bill and Jean Watson. Mrs. Watson was the first MCHS executive director, from 1980 until her retirement in 1996, and was the first to recreate the Victorian custom of displaying a Christmas tree in this unusual way.
Acorn Hall’s annual Christmas Celebration will be on view through January 7, 2018.
An exhibit also is on view now at Acorn Hall. “The Cutting Edge: Medicine in Morris County, 1876-1976,’’ explores the history of Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, The Seeing Eye, Morristown Medical Center, local pharmaceutical giants, impacts of diseases, such as tuberculosis and Spanish Flu, and the medical professionals who treated Morris County residents.
The exhibit features Christmas at Greystone Park, where Dr. Britton D. Evans, medical director at Greystone from 1890 until his death in 1920, dressed as Santa Claus and made sure that every patient at the hospital received a Christmas present. He and the Greystone staff collaborated to perpetuate Greystone physician Thomas Kirkbride’s philosophy of creating a warm and caring environment to improve the health of the mentally ill.
The Gallery Gift Shop will also be open, featuring recently added acorn- and oak-themed jewelry, made in New Jersey by Otis B. Jewelry. Bangle bracelets and necklaces are also available in gold or silver, as are handmade stained-glass stars, fused glass stars, snowflakes, and Christmas trees from Laura of Garden State Glassworks, among other gifts.
Acorn Hall is open Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointment. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for students, and is free for children under 12 and MCHS members.