WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – On The Hilltop at Oglebay sits an iconic treasure.

The Oglebay Institute Mansion Museum is kind of like the community’s home I think.

Gerry Reilly, Associate Director of Museums, Oglebay Institute

Much like any home, it’s decorated and ready to welcome visitors for the holiday season. 

I think it’s important to spread that cheer, not just on the holidays, but all year long.

Dick Taylor, Decorator

Which is why each year since 1973 a team of volunteers gives their time and creative talents to transform each of the 13 rooms in a way that shows off the period furniture already in place. 

What I like to tell the decorators is it’s not a store window. It’s not a blank slate so you have to work with the antiques. They have to be careful.

Gerry Reilly, Associate Director of Museums, Oglebay Institute

It’s a select few who get the honor to set foot inside the Oglebay Institute Mansion Museum rooms. They’re long-time pros, having done these decorations for 20 or even 50 years. 

I was hired to work at Stone and Thomas and the first year Lynn Buch was in charge of interior design, and she needed an assistant.

Scott Klinkoski, Decorator

Kliknoski has been decorating for 50-years. He and Taylor team up for the entryway of the mansion and the hallway, giving guests a warm welcome.

This year’s theme is “The Nutcracker”, celebrating the iconic ballet we’ve come to know and love. 

We figured if this was the Nutcracker performance, and it’s after the performance, everybody’s going to want to eat so we did a cookie layout. 

Rebecca Niess, Decorator

Niess is a 20-year decorator who usually gets help from her sister. When you see the kitchen, she says look for the hidden squirrel!

Decorators start in the summer when they get the year’s theme. Then they plan until mid-October when they can start placing each piece of their design perfectly in time for opening night. 

On opening night when we stand up here and people come through it’s fun to sit in the background and listen to their reactions because they don’t know that you’re the person that did it.

Rebecca Niess, Decorator

Some of the items are bought at the store, some are hand made and others are personal treasures on loan to the community. 

I put up over 500 nutcrackers on display in my own home and many of them that we used here are from our collection. 

Dick Taylor, Decorator

No matter which room you’re in, or which you decide is your favorite, these decorators have one hope; that their hard work helps you enjoy each moment of the holiday season. 

You don’t always realize it because we’re not here everyday, but I’m hoping that people walk in and there’s a lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ because of the way it looks and the way it feels.

Scott Klinkoski, Decorator

The Oglebay Institute Mansion Museum will officially open to the public on November 11.

Visit from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Christmas Eve it will be open until 5:00 p.m. The mansion is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Days. Please arrive 30-minutes before closing so you have enough time to see all the rooms.

They also have a few special events for the season you may want to enjoy as well. 

Learn more or plan your visit at oionline.com.

If you’d like to visit Oglebay’s Festival of Lights, you can learn more at oglebay.com.