Cowtown sticks with tradition in its Victorian Christmas opening this weekend

Cowtown’s Victorian Christmas opens this Friday.
Cowtown’s Victorian Christmas opens this Friday.

In the age of online Christmas shopping and greetings sent by text, the Old Cowtown Museum invites guests to experience the simpler days in Wichita’s history.

The museum will hold its 43rd Victorian Christmas December 7 and 8, and December 14 and 15.

Families can step back in time to lamp lit streets, Christmas carolers donning Victorian style dress, and stagecoach rides.

Jacky Goerzen, Cowtown’s executive director, said that Victorian Christmas is unique among the many options of holiday happenings. She says families can get sense of what Christmas would have been like during the Victorian era.

“You can make all sorts of family memories here,” she said. “The event really takes you back to a slower, simpler time.”

Here’s three things to know if Victorian Christmas is part of your holidays plans:

Expect tradition In past years the museum has tried different themes, such as the “Dickens Christmas” in 2015, but Goerzen says guests can expect a traditional take this year.

“We’re going back to its roots,” she said. While it’s fun to try different themes, she said, guests always comment on certain things they miss about the Victorian Christmas event. This year guests can expect all their favorite things including stagecoach rides, dancing Saloon girls, and a cooking demonstration at the farm. The traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, ham, squash and potatoes will be prepared over a wood-burning stove.

Goerzen hopes that children will be able to envision what Christmas was like for settlers years ago. They can learn to make popcorn string decorations and even send a telegram to Santa.

Dress appropriately Much of Victorian Christmas will be outside, so Goerzen recommends dressing appropriately as cold temperatures or snowy weather won’t affect the event. She says bundling up and stepping into a snowy Victorian setting only adds to the magic.

“The snow actually makes it cooler,” Goerzen said. “So most people have no problem braving the cold.”

Goerzen said there are plenty of spots for families to go inside to warm up during the event. Guests can enjoy hot chocolate and baked goods being sold by the Cowtown Social Club, a volunteer group that supports projects at the museum.

Advance tickets are recommended For guests who experienced long lines from last year’s event, Goerzen wants visitors to know changes have been made to the guest entry this year. If you do have to wait in line a bit, you’ll be able to enjoy the special entertainment, including belly dancers, added to the Visitor’s Center.

Goerzen recommends purchasing tickets ahead of time on Members and advance ticket holders will be able to go into the event first. An entrance will be designated specifically for advance tickets or museum memberships.

“Advance tickets will probably help you get in ten to fifteen minutes faster,” said Goerzen.

For those without advance tickets, the museum has added another credit card line in addition to the two cash lines. Regular museum admission will apply and allow guests to take part in all activities at the event. Children ages four and under can get in free.

Victorian Christmas

When: 6 – 9 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8, Dec. 14 and 15

Where: Old Cowtown Museum, 1865 W. Museum Blvd.

Tickets: Adults, $9, Seniors, $8, Children ages 12 – 17, $7, Children ages 5 – 11, $6, Children 4 years and younger are admitted free.

More information: