A Russian nesting doll, a wine bottle, a music box, a PEZ dispenser, a jigsaw puzzle, a vintage cooking mold -- What do all these objects have in common? Usually, not much. But at the Santa Claus Museum in Columbus, Texas all these items depict the jovial, white-bearded bearer of gifts in some shape, form or fashion.
Nearly 3,000 Santa figurines and Santa-inspired pieces deck the halls at this holly-jolly attraction dubbed the “only Santa museum in the South.”
The museum houses three major Claus-themed collections comprising “almost 3,000 Santas including figurines, music boxes, dolls, dishes, ornaments, artwork, needlework, and photos from all over the world,” according to the institution’s website.
Artwork by Norman Rockwell and Thomas Nast, as well as a complete collection of Haddon Sundblom Coca-Cola Santas are among the memorabilia displayed in the humble, two-room museum.
A nearly life-size Santa displayed in the Priesmeyer Department Store in Garwood during the 1950s is one of the most popular Santas at the museum
Opened in 1990, the Santa Claus Museum originally housed the collection of Colorado County resident Mary Elizabeth Hopkins. Born in 1913, Hopkins received her first Santa when she was just 6 months old. By the time Hopkins died, her collection had grown to more than 2,500 pieces, which were ultimately donated to the Columbus Historical Preservation Trust. The organization used the donation to launch the Santa Claus Museum.
In 2019, two more families donated their collections and an additional display room was opened.
The museum is just one of two such museums in the nation devoted to all-things Kris Kringle. The other is located in Santa Claus, Indiana.
The Father Christmas-themed museum at 604 Washington St. in Columbus will operate 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 1 through Dec. 14. After December, the Christmas-obsessed can visit the museum only if they arrange an appointment in advance.
During December admission is free. Admission is $5 per person January through November.
For additional information, visit SantaMuseum.org.
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