If you’re looking to get in the holiday spirit (and possibly take a break from final projects and exams), look no further than the Wylie House Museum. Located on Second Street at the very edge of campus, the museum is one of the IUB Libraries’ and Bloomington’s best-kept secrets. Originally the home of IU’s first president, Andrew Wylie, generations of the Wylie family actually inhabited the house until 1913. Today, it offers visitors a snapshot of nineteenth-century life and houses a number of historic artifacts from collections of family letters and photographs to antique furniture and other textiles.
The museum offers numerous opportunities for visitors interested in local history. Guided tours of the house are available March-November from friendly docents familiar with the house and family’s history. Classes from IU and local schools are welcome to visit for field trips and class projects. An outdoor interpreter, with the help of volunteers, maintains an heirloom garden on the grounds to promote seed saving–an activity in which visitors are welcome to support. Other activities include live music, exhibits, and even quilt shows.
Staff and volunteers at the Wylie House have been busy preparing for the holiday season. The current exhibit, located in the Wylie House Barn, is called “Christmas in the Nineteenth Century” and features excerpts from family letters and diaries, historic Christmas cards, and photographs to highlight holiday traditions at the Wylie House and in Bloomington during that time period.
Another tradition includes the annual holiday open house, “Wylie House by Candlelight” which will take place this Saturday, December 7 from 5:00-8:00 pm. The event will offer live music performed by IU affiliates, holiday crafts and period games, docents and volunteers dressed in period attire, and of course, refreshments! If you have a chance, stop by to take part in the holiday festivities.