During the month of December the small town of Frederick Maryland will be aglow with candlelight. This historic town, located between Antietam and Monocacy National Battlefields was a hotbed of activity during the Civil War. Today it is home to upscale shops, restaurants and museums.
On the second Saturday in December twenty-four of Frederick’s museums and historic places will take part in the Museums by Candlelight a self-guided tour loaded with free holiday themed programs; hands on activities, arts and crafts, demonstrations on creating 19th century Christmas decorations, tours, music, shopping, meet and talk with historians and learn the history of Frederick before and after the Civil War.
At the Bjorlee Museum and Hessian Barracks visitors will enjoy the luminaries and festive decorations bedecked throughout the museum. The Brunswick Railroad Museum will host 19th century parlor games such as blind man’s bluff or change seats. Monocacy National Battlefield park rangers will provide music and refreshment along with tours of the museum.
Walk the luminaria lit paths of the Mt. Olivet Cemetery to the final resting places of Francis Scott Key (author of our National Anthem) and his family. The Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum, home to some nifty 19th century fire apparatus, will be collecting new, unwrapped toys for the community’s Toys for Tots drive. The Museum of Frederick County History will be hosting “Hollywood During the Holidays” with showings of vintage holiday movies in various rooms of the museum.
Stop by the National Museum of Civil War Medicine to learn from costumed docents how Civil War surgery was performed. Join in the singing of Victorian Christmas carols while the kids visit with a Union Civil War Santa. Admire the reproduction Civil War Era 9-patch quilts that the Frederick’s Women organization is making for military amputees in the Wounded Warriors program. They are like the quilts made in the Civil War by the U.S. Sanitary Commission for wounded veterans.
Frederick has been known throughout the centuries for the lovely church spires that grace the city’s skyline. In his Civil War era poem “Barbara Frietchie” John Greenleaf Whittier wrote “The clustered spires of Frederick stand green walled by the hills of Maryland”.
The day after Christmas is set aside for the Candlelight Tour of Historic Houses of Worship. Thirteen of Frederick’s churches open their doors to visitors for tours, lectures, music by local groups, church choirs and operatta performances.
For information and to download maps of these free self-guided tours go to Destination Frederick Maryland.