Top 5 Museums to visit at Christmas time

December 5, 2014

Travel, Austria, England, Germany, Switzerland, USA

These days, there’s a museum for everything, and Christmas is no exception. With just a few weeks to go until the big day, I’ve pulled together some of the world’s best museums to put you in the Christmas spirit.

1. Deutsches Weihnachtsmuseum (Germany)

Germany is well known for its traditional Christmas decorations, such as nutcrackers and wooden pyramids, and some of our best loved customs like the Christmas tree developed there too. So it seems logical that Germany would have a Christmas Museum. At the Deutsches Weihnachtsmuseum (German Christmas Museum) in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, visitors can not only marvel at the many beautiful Christmas decorations on display, but also learn more about the history and secular customs of this much loved festival.

Photo © Deutsches Weihnachtsmuseum

2. Santa Claus Museum (USA)

The town of Santa Claus, Indiana, in the USA is home to the Santa Claus Museum & Village. The museum’s mission is to “preserve, interpret, and exhibit the cultural and natural history of the town of Santa Claus, IN and to perpetuate the tradition of Santa’s Elves, Inc answering letters to Santa.” The tradition was started in 1914 and thus celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. As well as the museum, the site includes a historic church and post office, where children can sit at antique school desks and write their letters to Santa then and there, and a giant Santa statue dedicated to “the children of the world”.

Photo © Santa Claus Museum & Village

Photo © Santa Claus Museum & Village

3. Lebkuchenmuseum (Switzerland)

The Swiss municipality of Einsiedeln is not only known for its monastery and national ski jumping venue, but is also home to the Lebkuchenmuseum, located within the Schafbock- and Lebkuchenbäckerei Goldapfel. Lebkuchen  – a sweet, cake like treat similar to gingerbread – was originally invented in Germany in the 13th century, and Christmas time today would be unimaginable without it. At the museum, visitors can see, amongst other things, historical baking utensils, early 20th century machinery, and an impressive collection of old wooden Lebkuchen moulds.

Photo © Schafbock- und Lebkuchenmuseum Goldapfel

Photo © Schafbock- und Lebkuchenmuseum Goldapfel

4. Nutcracker Museum (USA)

“The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum shows over 6,000 nutcrackers dating back to Roman times.  There are many types of nutcrackers made of many different materials, from stone to fragile ivory.  Not only antique nutcrackers are shown, but also the popular wooden toy soldiers from Germany.  Karl, [their] 6 foot museum beer drinking museum ambassador, was carved in Oberammergau by the late Karl Rappl.”  The museum also has a dedicated website for children.

Nutcracker Museum

There is also a large nutcracker museum in Neuhausen, Germany – the  Nussknackermuseum.

5. Schneekugelmuseum (Austria)

At the Snowglobe Museum in Vienna – which is attached to a snowglobe shop and workshop that has been in the hands of the same family for several generations – visitors can get an overview of how snowglobes are made. The four different sizes of snowglobe on display and for sale include both historic and current themes and designs. Note: visits are only available to groups and via pre-arrangement.


Bonus Museum: Charles Dickens Museum (England)

I can’t imagine Christmas without Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, so it seems right to include the Charles Dickens Museum here. Located in a Georgian terraced house in London’s Bloomsbury, the building itself held special significance for Dickens, as the place where two of his daughters were born and some of his best-loved novels were written. Can’t you just envisage Scrooge being visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet to come in the four poster bed below? The museum also has a great calendar of Christmas themed events worth checking out.

Photo © Charles Dickens Museum. Photography: Siobhan Doran Photography.

Photo © Charles Dickens Museum. Photography: Siobhan Doran Photography.

Many thanks to all the museums that supplied photographs for this post!

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  1. Museums to Visit at Christmas Time | - December 10, 2014

    […] The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum made the top 5 museums to visit at Christmas time list over at Museum Diary. […]

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