December 3, 2015
For use: Immediate
Finney County Historical Society
Contact: Steve Quakenbush, 620-272-3664


Functioning Christmas diorama on display for public before, during and after Dec. 12 open house

Santa Claus and several of his elves began hammering and sewing toys together in a downtown Garden City window on Main Street some 65 years ago, and were put into storage several decades later, but the North Pole workers are back in action for this year’s Christmas season at the Finney County Historical Museum.

An antique mechanical diorama depicting Santa’s Workshop has gone on display in the museum’s Front Door Gallery, and Southwest Kansas are welcome to view it during a holiday open house there from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 12. The exhibit is also open 1-5 p.m. seven days weekly before and after that date. Admission is free and he museum is located at 403 S. Fourth in Finnup Park.

The diorama, standing three feet high and seven feet wide, dates to approximately 1950, with seven moving figures of the elves and St. Nick as they prepare toys and gifts for delivery around the world. It was discovered early in 2015 in an old coal storage area at the Windsor Hotel, dirty and damaged, and donated to the historical society by the Finney County Preservation Alliance though efforts of the late Don Harness.

Local craftsman, carpenter and toy collector Tom Herman devoted 50-60 volunteer hours to cleaning, repairing and putting the three-dimensional display into working condition. Some Garden City residents recall seeing the display at Garnand Furniture many Christmas seasons ago, when the store occupied much of the 1889 hotel’s ground floor.


Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau

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