Aurora Historical Society Creates New Awards

Aurora Historical Society Creates New Awards

Two rooms included in the Tanner House Museum holiday open houses have been named recipients of a new history award from the Aurora Historical Society.

They are the Kitchen, which features homemade gingerbread and dried fruit decorations, and the Upstairs Sitting Room, which depicts a Victorian-era matron on a walk through a snowy park with playful children and mischievous dogs.

“Winter Walk” scene by Patti Baroni, in the Upstairs Sitting Room.

The “Victoria” award, given for the first time in 2018, recognizes rooms that capture some aspect of history especially well, according to Tanner House docent coordinator Karen Blee Nickels, who came up with the idea.

“Of course we still have the Favorite Room award,” she said, referring to the balloting by visitors to the house throughout the holiday season. “People have a lot of fun, and sometimes a lot of difficulty, choosing their favorite room. It’s a big part of the program.”

But the program guidelines encourage freedom in interpreting the holidays, according to Nickels.

This year, for instance, one room features a spaceship arriving at a dollhouse, carrying tiny space creatures bearing even tinier gifts. Another shows a modern New Year’s Eve scene.

The Victoria awards will be a tip of the hat to the late-Victorian era of the house.

The awards in both categories are entirely for bragging rights, Nickels said. There are no trophies or monetary rewards.

Rachel Rose Bee of Aurora designed the kitchen and created the scale-model Tanner House using an authentic gingerbread recipe. She hung garlands festooned with citrus fruits and apples which she oven-dried over several days.

Patti Baroni, also of Aurora and a docent at the museum, used her collection of antique German dolls to create the starry-evening tableau.

Tanner House Holidays open houses are scheduled for every 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Friday, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Sunday and Wednesday through Jan. 30. Admission is free, although donations are appreciated.

The museum is located at 304 Oak Avenue, the corner of Oak and Cedar, in the historic Tanner neighborhood on Aurora’s west side.  After December 30 the house will be closed until June except for scheduled groups.  Call 630-906-0650.

More information is available online at or on Facebook at aurorahistory.

FEATURE PHOTO CAPTION: Gingerbread Tanner House in the kitchen, by Rachel Rose Bee

SOURCE: Aurora Historical Society news release


– Gingerbread Tanner House in the kitchen, by Rachel Rose Bee.