Boutique de Noel

IMG_0148Visit the Carriage House at DeMenil for a pop-up Christmas Boutique featuring Christmas Morning Marmalade, and both Caramel and Fudge Sauces – a DeMenil exclusive – along with beautifully packaged Holiday Toffee and other unique gifts.

You’ll find three colors of miniature poinsettias in ornament containers along with presents, ornaments and a very, very, large stuffed bear. There will be eggnog and wine, cider and tidbits for cheery shoppers so we welcome one and all on December 11th during the Holiday Historic House Tour 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

Holiday Hours and the Phone Outage

Here's the type of phone service we're comfortable withThis is a quick post to let folks know that we lost our voice mail for about a week during the transition from old-fashioned phone service to fancy new U-verse service.  Many apologies if you’ve tried to leave a message since last Thursday – everything ought to be fixed now.

In other news, we are open today (Wednesday 11/26), Friday and Saturday for your Thanksgiving weekend entertainment and edification.  Come see us!

St. Louis Hol­i­day His­toric House Tour

Thurs­day, Dec. 11 | 3:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Your chance to explore holiday traditions at the Camp­bell House, the Eugene Field House, the Chatillon-DeMenil House, the Samuel Cup­ples House, and the Old Courthouse

Get in the spirit of the hol­i­days in high style by vis­it­ing five of St. Louis’ finest his­toric homes and build­ings. For one night only, get the chance to expe­ri­ence the Camp­bell House Museum, Eugene Field House and St. Louis Toy Museum, Chatillon-DeMenil House, Samuel Cup­ples House at St. Louis Uni­ver­sity and the Old Cour­t­house, each decked out in their fes­tive fin­ery. Each stop along the way will fea­ture light hol­i­day refresh­ments and enter­tain­ment. Most loca­tions also have gift shops to help you with your hol­i­day shopping!

Par­tic­i­pants can tour the loca­tions on continuously-running char­ter buses that will shut­tle them from stop to stop or may opt to take a self-guided tour. To pur­chase tour tick­ets, call the Camp­bell House Museum at (314) 421‑0325 or click here to purchase tickets.

Guided Bus Trans­porta­tion tick­ets: $30.00 in advance, $40.00 the day of the event. Price includes admis­sion to all five loca­tions and bus trans­porta­tion.
Self-Guided tick­ets: $20.00 in advance, $30.00 the day of the event. Price includes admis­sion to all five locations.

**Inclement Weather Date: Dec. 17, 2014

Our Dia de los Muertos Altar

We spend a lot of time with our dead here at DeMenil. I don’t mean literally (although for those of you who are tantalized by stories of spirit encounters, we will be sharing ghost stories tomorrow). I mean that we spend time imagining the people who lived here, and telling different aspects of their history. In the city’s 250th year, we’ve been thinking a lot about the cultural drama that unfolds after the Louisiana Purchase, as the former French struggle to hold on to what they can of their language and way of life. How do they assimilate into the onrushing American tide, and how do they retain their own traditions? In fact, how does anyone manage to retain traditions when the world changes so fast?

This weekend at DeMenil we’re taking advantage of a great opportunity to reflect on these themes. For the first time, we are participating in Cherokee Street’s Dia de los Muertos celebration. For this festival, we and our neighbors are erecting altars to celebrate the lives and memories of those who have passed away. We get to use our altar to juxtapose the Victorian customs of mourning with a Mexican tradition of celebration.

altarcuThe very elaborate memorial traditions of the Victorians in St. Louis, the United States, and Europe focused on grief, and on the presence of physical remains and reminders. We’ve pulled out some of the memorial items from our collection to represent this solemnity.

Then we have the straight-ahead Mexican elements, including tissue flowers and paper cutouts of joyful skeletons making merry. It may be hard to imagine a guitar-playing smiling skeleton (for example) as a representation of Emilie Sophie Chouteau DeMenil, who never smiles in pictures. But we dare to imagine that Sophie did smile – she must have – and there was a place for joy and celebration in her life.

We’ve also mixed up the Victorian crafts and the Mexican ones – silhouettes of skulls, for example, juxtaposed with papel picado depicting fleur de lis. We’re remembering that ultimately, the house museum and the Dia de los Muertos altar have similar functions – to memorialize the past and to connect it to our everyday lives. This weekend reminds us of how good it is to do so with joy.

Our altar will be on view during museum hours this Friday and Saturday.  For more information about the weekend’s festivities, visit the Dia de los Muertos STL page on Facebook.

November Craft Night

Upcoming Craft Night Wednesday November 12, 2014 at 7:00 pm – Learn to Make Hand-made Buttons

1bThere is scarcely, in the whole range of household articles, one of more general use or in greater demand than the button. It forms an indispensable accompaniment to almost every article of wearing-apparel belonging to both sexes. As a fastening for garments it is infinitely superior to the points and lacings which it has superseded; the former of these being no longer employed, and the latter scarcely used in the toilette except to aid in distorting the beautiful female form with that unnatural contrivance called Stays.~The Magazine of Domestic Economy 1841

What is a Dorset Button? It’s a handmade button made with thread and a ring base. This type of button originated in Dorset, England in the 1620’s and remained popular until the 1850’s. They were originally made using a ring cut from a ram’s horn, but modern versions use a plastic or metal ring. Learn the basics and start designing your own beautiful buttons!

Instructor: Deborah Hyland

Date: Wednesday November 12, 2014 at 7 pm

Cost: Free, but registration is required

Click here for the supply list and other class information

Haunted History Tours 2014

Amy
Image courtesy of Amy Armbruster
Saturday November 1, 2014
La Toussaint

In 50 years as a museum, we’ve heard many strange stories of hauntings and supernatural experiences. In this hour-long tour, which features parts of the house that are usually closed to the public, we’ll tell the stories and let you decide for yourself if the DeMenil House is haunted.

Haunted History Tours will be offered at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 and costs $8 per guest. Regular tours of the Mansion will be held on the hour as usual.

 

Can’t make it on November 1st? Our Haunted Tours are also available for your group by appointment. Contact us to find out more.

Join this event on Facebook

Read one of our ghost stories: Continue reading Haunted History Tours 2014

Mourning 2014

Our 10th Annual Mourning Event

A Death in the Family: Death and Mourning in the 19th Century – Saturday October 11, 2014 – 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Photo by Lori Peterson
Image courtesy of Lori Peterson Photography

Start the 2014 fall season with one of our most interesting and unusual events, A Death in the Family. This is an open house style event, during which guests are free to visit exhibits throughout the Mansion and learn not only about mourning customs of the 19th century but illness, medical treatments, wakes, funerary practices and more from costumed volunteers and museum staff.

As well as visiting with our informative volunteers, guests get a chance to see a amazing collection of original objects related to death, mourning and medical practices, from private collections, that are on display just this one day every year.

As well as our regular fair we are also including three special exhibits this year.

2014 special exhibits: Continue reading Mourning 2014

October Craft Night

Upcoming Craft Night Wednesday October 8, 2014 at 7:00 pm – Spooky Craft Party!

leavesThere is perhaps no night in the year which the popular imagination has stamped with a more peculiar character than the evening of the 31st of October, known as All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween. It is clearly a relic of pagan times, for there is nothing in the church-observance of the ensuing day of All Saints to have originated such extraordinary notions as are connected with this celebrated festival, or such remarkable practices as those by which it is distinguished. ~The Book of Days, 1872

We’ll  be enjoying fall treats,  playing  19th century fortune telling games and maybe even telling a few ghost stories  at our annual Spooky Craft Party! We’ll also have a fun fall themed craft: skeletonizing leaves. This is an interesting process that removes all of the pulp from a leaf leaving behind the lacey vein structure. Victorians called floral displays made with skeletonized leaves ‘phantom bouquets’.

Instructor: Katherine Patterson

Date: Wednesday October 8, 2014 at 7 pm

Cost: Free, but registration is required

Click here for the supply list and other class information

Events Fall 2014

Don’t miss out on our unique line-up of Fall Events at the DeMenil Mansion408514_540759185949054_1671765936_n

September 13, 2014 – Lecture Alexander DeMenil in Civic Life and as a Proponent of the Literary Arts

Join us  Saturday, September 13th at 2:00 pm for a free lecture and Q&A covering the life and career of the second generation DeMenil to inhabit the house. Alexander Nicholas DeMenil, although overlooked by historical scholarship, remains a pertinent component in the history of St. Louis that reverberates national sentiment.

October 8, 2014 – DeMenil Craft Guild – Spooky Craft Party

We’ll be enjoying fall treats, playing 19th century fortune telling games and maybe even telling a few ghost stories at our annual Spooky Craft Party on October 8, 2014 at 7:00 pm! We’ll also have a fun fall themed craft: skeletonizing leaves. This is an interesting process that removes all of the pulp from a leaf leaving behind the lacy vein structure. Victorians called floral displays made with skeletonized leaves ‘phantom bouquets’. You can register for this Craft Night here.

October 11, 2014 – A Death in the Family: Death and Mourning in the Nineteenth Century

Visit the Mansion for the signature event of our Fall season: our 10th Annual Mourning Event. Exhibits fill every room of the museum covering topics from illness to burial, including embalming and funereal practices, superstitions, mourning clothing and customs, hair-work jewelry, post-mortem photography and more.

November 2, 2014 – Ghost Story Tours – the Jour des Morts (All Souls Day)

During our time as a museum we’ve collected strange and interesting stories from our volunteers, staff and visitors. See the mansion in a new way by learning about our haunted history . Tours will include information about the history of the Mansion, tales of the ghostly experiences that have been reported throughout the museum and access to areas of the house that are usually closed to guests.