A Night At The Museum

On December 15, Hyde Park held its annual party to celebrate the holidays; and this year the venue, the Elisabet Ney Museum, made it a particularly memorable occasion as residents mingled, as it were, with the sculpted figures. Old neighbors, old friends, new neighbors, new friends, infused this historic museum with a spirit of warmth and good cheer. “Magical” was a word that frequently came to the mind of attendees.

An amazing setting for conversations among neighbors. Photo by Lizzie Chen
An amazing setting for conversations among neighbors.
Photo by Lizzie Chen

Many thanks are due the museum for its generosity and graciousness in opening its doors to our community for this event, specifically Oliver Franklin, the museum’s director, and his team, Lindsay Barras and Frank Wick. These individuals brought a contagious enthusiasm to the planning of the party every step of the way. We are very fortunate to have the museum be an active part of our Hyde Park community.

State Rep. Elliot Naishtat (left) with Dorothy Richter and Kevin Heyburm. Photo by Adam Wilson
State Rep. Elliot Naishtat (left) with Dorothy Richter and Kevin Heyburm. Photo by Adam Wilson

Outside the museum, guests were welcomed by luminaries, twinkling lights, cookies from Cookie Peace, hot cocoa from the Chocolate Maker’s Studio, a star-gazing telescope, and a family holiday movie. The HPNA table was in full swing as its membership team signed up and renewed members.

Inside, guests were greeted by the nine-foot “Wish Tree,” where they were invited to create a wish on a provided white tag and place it on the tree. Some wishes were neatly hand printed: “I wish that every child could know love.” Others, adorned with feathers and sparkly ribbons, read: “I wish for $1,000,000 and 10 puppies.” Our neighbor Nancy Mims conceived the idea of this tree and brought it to life. Our hope is to make it an annual tradition, building on our community’s uniquely diverse set of wishes, year after year.

The view from above. Photo by Adam Wilson
The view from above. Photo by Adam Wilson

Violinist Laura Poyzer filled the galleries of the Ney with music as guests enjoyed food and drink amidst the timeless sculpture. The museum’s staff readily provided information about the history of the museum and Elisabet Ney’s life and work. During the evening, more than $750 in gifts and donations was collected for our friends and neighbors at Helping Hand Home, a nonprofit organization which strives to make life better for the children in their care.

Tree adorned with the wishes of neighbors. Photo by Adam Wilson
Tree adorned with the wishes of neighbors.
Photo by Adam Wilson

This event was successful because of our team of volunteers. Thanks are owed to all those who assisted with set up, greeting, and clean up. Also, a very special thanks to the members of the committee who worked with me to plan this event: Nancy Mims, Susie Roselle, Nhaila Hendrickse, and Amy Diehl. They juggled their busy household schedules and professional lives to make the party possible for everyone.

I believe the evening played out exactly as Elisabet Ney would have wanted it to: friends, old and new, gathering on the grounds of her studio and within its great stone walls to exchange stories and wish each other well.

— Tammy Young