During the month of December, the historic Bethel Church at Heritage Hall Museum and Archives in Freeman will be transformed into a scene of lights and garlands and Christmas trees. Individuals, businesses and organizations are invited to participate by providing a decorated tree. The sign-up deadline is Wednesday, November 22, with the registration form and additional details available on the homepage at HeritageHallMuseum.com.
Trees can be placed in the church by appointment from November 27 through November 30. Those sponsoring a tree will receive four one-time passes for admission to the museum complex, which includes the Bethel Church and several other historic buildings. Sponsors are invited to place a small basket of promotional materials or give-away items with their tree. Guests to the museum will have the opportunity to use tokens to cast a “People’s Choice” vote for a fan favorite during the month of December while the trees are displayed.
In addition to the regular fall and winter hours of noon to 4 PM, Monday through Friday, the museum will observe extended hours while the trees are on display. The church will be open free of charge from 10 AM until 4 PM on Saturday, December 2, with a Christmas Carol Sing-Along taking place in the church at 2 PM. Other extended hours at the church and throughout the rest of the museum will be from 10 AM until 2 PM on Saturday, December 9, and on Saturday, December 16; admission fees will apply.
The Bethel Mennonite congregation was established near Dolton, South Dakota, in 1879. After initially meeting in a schoolhouse, a church building was erected in 1892 and served the congregation until the building currently located at Heritage Hall Museum and Archives was built in 1920. Due to declining membership, the congregation chose to disband in 1992; the church was moved to the museum complex later that year.