The High Point Museum will host its 50th annual Holiday Open House this weekend. To commemorate the milestone, the High Point Historical Society will present costumed interpreters including Guilford County’s own Dolley Madison.
It’s a jump back in time. Scattered among the historic houses on the museum property, visitors will find a blacksmith working in the forge and costumed docents busy candle making. Santa will make an appearance, there will be arts and crafts for kids, and music groups from area schools will perform.
Historical Society President Julie Raynor says the event embodies their mission.
"The museum and the historical society both are very intentional about our efforts to preserve the history of High Point, its artifacts," says Raynor. "Because High Point has such a really interesting history both with furniture and textiles, and with John Coltrane — so music. It's just one of those places that you might not have visited before, so we hope that people will come to this event and then come back."
Raynor says one of the region’s most famous historical figures, born in Guilford County 254 years ago, will be brought to life there this weekend: Dolley Madison. She and her family moved to Pennsylvania where she eventually married Representative and later U.S. President James Madison.
On Sunday he’ll be performed by Kyle Jenks. Portraying his wife will be professional interpreter Laura Rocklyn. Through her studies of Madison’s diaries and letters, Rocklyn says she can be a sort of bridge between the past and present.
"And I think one of the lovely things about an event like this that we’re doing at the High Point Museum is Kyle and I will be welcoming people to a reception at Montpelier in 1817 shortly after James Madison retired, and people can get an idea of what the Madisons were like at home," she says. "But also looking back at a point from 1817 we can talk about all of the events leading up to that."
Rocklyn and Jenks will be in the museum gallery throughout the Holiday Open House this Sunday. Admission and all activities are open to the public.