Designers bring 'Joy to the World' at Portland's Victoria Mansion
PORTLAND — Victoria Mansion, the historic home and museum at 109 Danforth St., begins its 30th annual holiday celebration Friday bedecked in an international style. And for the first time, the mansion will be open to the public in the evening.
Nearly a dozen local florists and designers volunteered time and materials to decorate the mansion in keeping with this year's holiday theme, "Joy to the World." Each of 10 rooms is festooned with garlands, ornaments and lights reminiscent of a different country, including Germany, France and Japan.
The mansion, a National Historic Landmark, was built in 1860, and its furnishings remain 90 percent intact from that time. It was a private home until the 1920s and was later nearly demolished to make way for a gas station. In 1941, benefactor William Holmes purchased the building and converted it into a museum.
Each year, the mansion rings in the holiday season by enlisting local merchants to decorate its opulent interior. Creating each room is a year-round effort. Designers meet with mansion staff in January and then plan and refine their decorative schemes over the next 10 months.
This season, nearly 10,000 people are expected to tour the mansion, according to marketing and events coordinator Greg Sundik.
What visitors may not realize is that the house originally was never decorated for the holidays, as it was used as a summer residence during the late 1800s for hotel tycoon Ruggles Sylvester Morse.
"Joy to the World" will run through Jan. 5, 204, and is open daily except for Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with extended hours until 7:30 p.m. on Mondays. Admission is $15 for the general public.