RICHMOND, Va. – The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design was filled with holiday spirit Thursday as families gathered for a Christmas party complete with a visit from Santa.
The festivities were just one part of the Monument Avenue museum's Centennial Celebration.
Children from the First S.T.E.P. program, a local pre-school that serves children with cancer, got to select presents from under the Christmas tree at the Tudor Revival mansion.
"We want to teach them the magic of Christmas and we want them to feel the magic that Mary Tyler Cheek felt when she came here and pass that along to future generations,” Centennial Celebration chairwoman Sally Branch said.
Branch also read the kids a book, “Christmas at the Branch House," based on Richmond civic leader and philanthropist Mary Tyler Cheek McClennahan’s reflections of Christmases at Branch House.
"She wrote how children chose presents hanging from the large tree, which were retrieved for them with a golf club. Following that tradition, children at today’s party received their presents from golf-club wielding volunteers," museum officials said.
Volunteers decorated the mansion for the holidays with locally-sourced Christmas trees, including native white pine, which was likely used by the Branches 100 years ago.
The museum will continue the party next Thursday for their official Centennial Celebration.