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Family Fun: Campbell House serves up holiday cheer in pandemic-friendly format

The Campbell House  (Molly Quinn/The Spokesman-Review)
The Campbell House (Molly Quinn/The Spokesman-Review)

The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture has found a way to serve up the flavors of a Campbell House Christmas, though as with much of life this year thanks to the pandemic, it’s going to be different.

Hulda the cook will still be there, and there will still be cookies. But this year, the event will be outside.

“I feel very happy with what we’ve been able to capture,” said Katie Staib, director of education for the MAC.

The museum’s Ho-Ho-Holiday Celebration continues 4-6 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 26. Instead of touring the decorated Campbell House, visitors will explore the museum campus. And instead of chatting with Hulda as she works in the kitchen, visitors will watch videos of her telling the stories about the Campbells and life in the house.

One bonus of the videos: “Visitors are catching jokes that might be missed in an in-person experience,” Staib said.

But Hulda will still be there in person, too. And, she’ll be played by the same actress who’s brought her to life for the past decade: Rebecca Cook.

The tree is decorated in the house, and the blinds will be open so people can see. Plus, the museum campus is more decorated than usual, Staib said.

Those decorations include the vintage Crescent Christmas displays in the windows of the archive building. They will be running 4-6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. “It’s very nostalgic, and it’s very sweet,” Staib said.

And for people who want to bring the flavors of the Campbell House home, the museum is selling wreath-making kits with sugar cookie dough to bake at home, as well as a recipe for families who want to make more.

The kits are $15 and include wreath-making materials and treats for a family of five, as well as links to how-to videos for the wreath and cookies. Families can sign up for a kit and make a reservation for pickup on the museum’s website.

The museum store also is open for Christmas shopping 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays.

Visitors to the Winter Celebration are asked to wear face masks and register in advance to support social distancing at northwestmuseum.org. The event is free, with a suggested donation of $5. All the reservation spots were spoken for the first weekend, Staib said.

The pandemic has forced museum staff to work on different ways of engaging with community members, Staib said. Things like the make-at-home crafts have been very successful, and she thinks some of the additions will stick around even when social distancing isn’t the norm.

“Our favorite thing is sharing the art and culture and having those experiences with folks,” she said. “We’re finding a way.”

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