Historical Society Announces Lantern Tour
The Madison Historical Society (MHS) will present its annual Holiday Lantern Tour on Sunday, Dec. 17. This year’s lantern tour will take visitors on a journey to Madison in the 1940s. As in past years, the scripts, characters, and themes will be new, and visitors will have the opportunity to step back in time as they visit scenes from Madison’s past. The 60-minute tours will leave every half hour from Lee’s Academy on the Town Green, beginning at 4:30 p.m. The last tour departs at 7 p.m.
The 1940s was a tumultuous decade in Madison and around the world, as it was defined by war, the Holocaust, the atomic bomb, and the beginning of the Cold War. At the start of the decade, Americans were slowly recovering from the Great Depression and, in New England, from a devastating hurricane. Despite these challenges, life along Madison’s bucolic shores progressed much as it had in previous decades. All of that changed in 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and the U.S. entered the war that had engulfed Europe.
The tour will feature student reenactors who will portray Madison men and women telling stories of the 1940s from their unique perspectives. Visitors will learn about A. Victor Knight, a British immigrant who owned a local automobile service station and who was one of the first Madison men to sign up for the newly formed Coast Guard volunteer reserve force. They’ll hear about Helen Foster Snow, an American journalist who reported from China throughout the 1930s and later settled in Madison. Stories of food and fuel rationing, women in the workforce, and Madison’s German-American societies will all be explored.
A tradition since 2018, the MHS Holiday Lantern Tour is a festive storytelling event that brings history to life. The fully outdoor program of dramatic presentations created by MHS volunteers travels a leisurely half-mile route. Tour guides will lead small groups from stop to stop while providing interesting anecdotes. At the end of the tour, guests are invited to warm themselves by the hearth at the Allis-Bushnell House. Apple cider, popcorn, and cookies will be served.
Tickets are $20 for adults ($15 for MHS members) and $8 for children ages 5 to 17. For tickets and information, visit www.madisonhistory.org or call 203-245-4567. Space is limited. Please register early to secure your spot.