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Girls, dolls invited to tea party at Hampton's Depreciation Lands Museum

| Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
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Kelly Parsons, daughter of Karen Parsons, volunteer coordinator at Depreciation Lands Museum, made the dolls – with a friend – to carry as part of her role as a young tour guide at the museum.

Frontier girls routinely enjoyed imaginary playmates in 18th century Western Pennsylvania.

“Traditionally, a little girl had a doll who was quite a companion to her during her growing-up years,” said Karen Parsons, coordinator of volunteers at the Depreciation Lands Museum in Hampton.

“Very likely, it was her only toy,” Parsons said.

The Depreciation Lands Museum educates visitors about life in Western Pennsylvania during the 1700s, when dolls also accompanied girls to socials.

“Very often girls did invite their friends to come to tea and bring their dolls,” Parsons said. “There were charming china tea sets made in doll size and child size.”

Such a tea for girls, age 5 and older, and their favorite dolls is set for 1:30 to 3 p.m. Jan. 18 at the museum, and will feature stories told aloud and craft projects for both girls and dolls.

“There will be tea and cookies and crafts,” Parsons said. “Traditionally we make something for the child, and something for the doll.”

Attendees include a number of Brownie troops and groups of cousins or friends, plus, their 18-inch American Girl dolls.

“Bring your favorite doll, and if it's not an 18-inch doll, that's quite all right,” Parsons said.

“More girls are playing with dolls again, which is nice,” Parsons said. “They have beautiful dolls, and they dress them beautifully to come to the tea party.”

A Civil War theme will flavor the tea party to mark the war's 150th anniversary.

“We'll be doing a craft that a young lady would have wanted to have during that particular time,” Parsons said.

Susan Claus, children's librarian at Northland Public Library in McCandless, will tell a Civil War-era story for tea party goers.

Robbie Seibert, manager of the museum's gift shop, also expects to offer handmade cloth dolls for purchase, and a few Civil War era-style dresses with hoop skirts and pantaloons for American Girl dolls.

A Civil War theme also will highlight an early American-style, high tea for adults set for 3 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Depreciation Lands Museum. Costumed servants will serve scones, sandwiches, cakes and a variety of hot teas.

The adult tea will include a program of Civil War era love letters read aloud: “Addison & Anna Munch: A Mid 19th Century Love Affair” by Marilyn Sorvas, who will share letters sent by her great-great-grand uncle during the Civil War.

Tickets are $20, or $16 for museum member adults age 62 and older, and children age 11 and younger.

Admission to the doll tea is $15 per child, and $12 for museum members.

“We welcome one adult per child to watch at no charge,” Parsons said.

Advance registration is requested for both events. Registration forms are available at the museum's online site: www.depreciationlandsmuseum.org. For information, call 412-486-0563.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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