Joseph Priestley House to celebrate Twelfth Night with traditions, entertainment | Applause

NORTHUMBERLAND — Throughout the year, Joseph Priestley House brings history to life with its variety of events open to the public. The house was the residence of the famous 18th century scientist, theologian, political progressive and author. Originally from England, Priestley lived the last 10 years of his life in Northumberland, where he continued his work. But he and his family would also carry on the holiday traditions they brought with them from England. This Sunday, Joseph Priestley’s House will be filled with the treats and festivities of a Twelfth Night celebration that he and his family would have enjoyed.

“The Twelfth Night program at Priestley House is special because it takes place at night so we can use candles and lanterns for our lighting,” said Jo Ann Long, volunteer coordinator.

“We share the Priestley Christmas traditions with refreshments, entertainment and scientists providing information to our guests,” he said, adding, “The house is appropriately decorated as it would have been in the late 1700s to early 1800s. This is a perfect way to wrap up our Christmas celebrations for the year.”

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Twelfth Night, also known as Epiphany’s Eve, traditionally takes place on the last of the 12 days of Christmas.

The celebration at Priestley House will include musical entertainment by the Bloomsburg Music Ensemble, a choral group from the Unitarian church and violinist Beverley Conrad, as well as wassail, Twelfth Night or king’s cake and other hot and spicy refreshments that would be part of the festivities. Priestley family.

Whoever finds a bean in a slice of cake will get a crown, while whoever finds a carnation in a slice of cake will get a jester’s hat for the night.

Priestley was a prolific scientist, particularly known for his discovery of oxygen. Ron Blatchley as Dr. Priestley will give chemistry demonstrations in the Pond Building at 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Space is limited. While free, tickets are required and are available at the Visitor Center. Children will be able to choose a free science or history book (one book per child accompanied by an adult).

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According to Long, the evening is made possible with the help of about 25 volunteers who will help out that day and will be dressed in colonial attire. Docents will be in each room to answer any questions. The house will be open for tours.

The atmosphere of the house will help guests take a step back in time. As visitors arrive at the Visitor Centre, they will be escorted by lantern to the Priestley House and Pond Building. The house will be traditionally decorated with pine, holly and candles. The dining room table will also be set for the holidays with a special center piece.

This will be the first Twelfth Night celebration Murrie Zlotziver, director of operations for the Friends of the Joseph Priestley House, will experience. During his first two years of service, the event was canceled due to COVID and then due to a winter storm.

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“I can’t wait to see it for the first time,” he said, “Priestley’s house lit up at night and decorated with pine trees, colonial music, carols and refreshments. It should be quite a night.’

In March, Friends of the Joseph Priestley House will host Joseph Priestley’s Birthday & Charter Day, with plans for displays of colonial arts. In April, they will partner with the Ned Smith Nature and Arts Center to celebrate an Earth Day event for children. From May to August, Priestley House will host Music on the Lawn every third Wednesday. In May, there are plans for a Flower & Plant Show, and in August, Oxygen Day and Garden Party. Other events for kids at home will include Priestley Academy (STEAM programs), History Camp and some new offerings this year: Theater/Acting Workshop and Scout Day.


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