Gingerbread houses topic of museum’s demonstration

Gingerbread houses topic of museum's demonstration Christmas preparations move forward at the W.H. Over Museum with a class demonstrating the construction and decoration of the gingerbread house on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 9:30 a.m.

In addition to seeing it done, class members will receive copies of the gingerbread recipe that will withstand this kind of construction and a pattern for the house.

Gingerbread houses are a traditional decoration for the season, probably beginning in Germany a few centuries ago. They were sold in medieval theaters much as popcorn is today. Originally, the gingerbread was cut in heart or people shapes and given to someone you love.

The dough was made of rye and honey for sweetener. Sugar as we know it was not used by Europeans until after the Crusaders (1000 AD) brought sugar cane from the Middle East to the Canary Islands and Madeira. Then it was so expensive that only royalty and the very wealthy could afford it.

The present day use of gingerbread, decorating it highly with gum drops and peppermint candies, reminds us of the childhood tale of Hansel and Gretel when they were caught eating the roof of the witch's house.

Saturday at the Museum, people who are interested in this holiday tradition can find out how to make a house out of the ancient traditional gingerbread.

The W.H. Over Museum Gift Shop will host this special class which is part of the education committee's outreach program chaired by Karen Mahood. Everyone is invited to come and participate.

For information or to register for the class, call 605-677-5228.

In the museum, the Parade of Trees, decorated by 15 different groups or individuals, will remain until Dec. 31, as will the special exhibit of early 20th century Christmas post cards, toys, books, and early dolls. A rare flier, printed in Vermillion, Clay County, IA (1871), is also on exhibit for this short time.

The museum will be open daily 9 to 5 p.m. throughout the holiday but closed Christmas and New Year's Day. On Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, the museum and the gift shop will close at 3 p.m.

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