The Magic of Antiques

Naturally, I think the Mansion Museum at Oglebay Park is magical due to its many antiques and archives but this December, it is especially enchanting due to its holiday trimmings and decor. Why? Because the theme of the volunteer decorators is Holiday Magic!

One of the generous volunteer decorators is Jeannette Roupe, floral designer at Pat Catan’s, a regional craft center, located in St. Clairsville. She’s been with the store since it was open.

Roupe and co-worker Megan Wagner, craft designer at Pat Catan’s, worked together to create a magical theme entitled, Harry Potter and the Spirit of Christmas. Their work is now on display in the Victorian Parlor of the elegant 1846-era mansion.

Roupe resides in Barnesville and first visited the Mansion Museum when she was a child. She explains why the two designers picked this theme.

“Like many, many people, I absolutely love Harry Potter. So I was thrilled to do this. Megan and I tried to incorporate as many elements of the popular books as possible,” she explained.

Just look around and enjoy the props and details found in Potter books and films. For example, she made Fawkes, the phoenix, Professor Dumbledore’s companion animal.

The talented decorators also found a way to put Sirius Black (another wizard) in the fireplace; made wreaths representing each of the four houses in Potter: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.

They added envelopes all over the Christmas tree to remind viewers of the multitude of mail Harry receives in one of the movies. And of course, Hedwig the owl is there. They also created a lovely floral arrangement with a stag’s head, which represents Harry’s charm or Patronus (protector).

“I especially liked doing this magic theme because it was like incorporating Halloween into Christmas decor and since we decorate right around Halloween, it was cool and seemed very appropriate,” Roupe said.

The ladies added a diadem to one of the historic statues in the beautiful room that copies the Diadem of Ravenclaw mentioned in the books. Both decorators were careful with the treasures and instructed on how to decorate the historic mansion without harming the integrity of the antiques and artifacts by the curator Kara Yenkevich.

“Actually, I’m always terrified that I might break something but we are given guidelines and help from the staff at the mansion. They even move a few things out so that we have space to add in our ‘magic’,” Roupe said.

This was Roupe’s third time to do a room at the annual mansion holiday tradition.

“Megan and I get excited to do this task every fall and this year the theme was perfect for us. It only took about two days in all for the two of us.”

Feedback has been positive, she notes, and why not? Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of Harry and read or seen the movies?

Actually, there is one more room that displays a Harry Potter inspired theme this year and that’s the Sewing Room on the second floor, decorated by Lisa Schmitt of Robinson and McElwee.

The other delightful rooms feature a variety of magical themes and are equally fun to see, so don’t miss this tour!

The entire holiday decorating of the 13 period rooms, hallways and staircases of the mansion was sponsored this year by Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration.

Don’t miss the chance to enjoy Holiday Magic at the Mansion Museum. Hours are from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, through Dec. 31.

Guests should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to closing time though to allow time to tour and the museum is closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, please call 304-242-7272 or visit

For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at zambito or by writing in care of this newspaper.