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The original item was published from 11/17/2021 2:18:00 PM to 1/1/2022 12:00:15 AM.

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Hampton History Museum

Posted on: November 17, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Hampton History Museum Offers Free Heirloom Ornament Making Kits

Heirloom Ornaments NF

While we won’t be able to host our annual Holly Days Open House again this year, we are keeping alive the tradition of making our popular heirloom ornaments. 

The museum is offering free kits available for pick up in the lobby featuring craft materials and instructions to make three tin-punch ornaments and three hanky angels. We've created crafting videos for each type of ornament. You'll find links below.

Both styles of ornament have their roots in history, and harken back to early American crafts and the holiday traditions of a young nation. The story of the origins of each ornament is included with the kits.

Prepared by museum educator Kris Peters, the kits contain the materials needed to craft three examples of each ornament: 3 aluminum tart pans; an assortment of paper patterns; 3 “hankies”; 3 felt balls; 3 pipe cleaners; and 3 pieces of gold ribbon. Crafters will need scissors, tape, and thumb tacks. The materials provided can easily be supplemented or substituted with other materials as you desire.

Tin Punch
Tin Punching as an art form dates back to the beginning of the 17th century. The English soldiers stationed at Fort Algernon (what is now known as Old Point Comfort) probably had punched tin lanterns. By the middle of the 18th century punched tin was being used for one of the most iconic pieces of early American furniture, the pie safe. Prior to the invention of refrigerators, pies, bread, and even meat would be stored in cabinets with walls and doors that had panels made of punched tin. The holes in the tin sheets allowed air to circulate around the food but kept insects out. By the 19th century pie safes were considered as much a piece of home decor as they were a practical kitchen fixture. Watch the instructional video!

Hanky Angel
Prior to the invention of cheap disposable paper tissues everyone carried a handkerchief. The Hankey Angel is a creative way to reuse handkerchiefs that were getting old and worn out. The hanky would be wrapped around a ball of cotton furniture batting and then yarn or ribbon would be tied around the ball to form the angel’s head. Once that step was complete there were countless ways to decorate the angel. The hanky could be folded and sewn into various patterns, wings, halos and other additions could be made to make each angel unique. Watch the instructional video!

Quantities are limited, and available while supplies last. Kits can be reserved for pick up in the museum lobby by calling 757-727-1102.

The Hampton History Museum is located at 120 Old Hampton Lane in Downtown Hampton. Museum hours: Monday- Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m. For more information visit

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