Wilson Presidential Library Celebrates Victorian Valentine's Day

By: Todd Corillo Email
By: Todd Corillo Email

Young girls in the Valley got a taste of how Valentine's Day was celebrated in the Victorian era at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library in Staunton Saturday.

"Valentine's Day was a big sentimental day in the Victorian era and here we depict the 19th century. So we chose to do a Victorian Valentine's celebration," explains museum educator Ellen Abernethy.

For participants like Emma Knupp, making a Victorian Valentine was a new experience.

"It's very different because I've never done Victorian Valentines before," says Knupp.

She says the Valentines are nothing like the ones found on store shelves today.

"The difference between the Victorian Valentines and the ones you buy in the store is that they are handmade. Besides the papers, so you can glue it, you can decorate it, you can make it your own style, but on the ones you buy from the store you can't do that because it is already made for you," adds Knupp.

In addition to making Valentines, the girls were also treated to a traditional tea party.

"The tea would have been served during the period. This is a traditional three-course tea," says Susan Lindermon with the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library.

The tea would have been a popular tradition for girls in the Victorian era, who would have celebrated Valentine's Day a little different than the modern era.

"It was family centered many times. The family would get together and make Valentines for each other and for their friends and for their neighbors and the more sentimental the better," explains Abernethy.

As for who Knupp might be giving her Victorian Valentines to, she says "I might give one to my dad, I might give one to my mom, I just don't know yet."


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