What a lovely museum! It is certainly worth the trip anytime of year. Thank you for preserving Christmas memories for the future!
Santa Claus Museum
The Santa Claus Museum opened in 1990. The building was donated by Mrs. Laura Ann Rau, founding member of the Columbus Historical Preservation Trust, Inc. The museum currently houses three major collections featuring Santas from all over the world.
THE HOPKINS COLLECTION
Mary Elizabeth Youens Hopkins was born in 1913 and received her first Santa Claus at just 6 months old. She began collecting in the early 1970s and her extensive collection includes Santas made from a variety of materials such as cast iron, china, basket weave, com shucks, bottle glass, magazines, fabric, dough, and wood. An almost life-sized Santa Claus, formerly displayed in the Priesmeyer Department Store in Garwood during the 1950s is one of the most popular Santas in her collection. The Hopkins collection features Duncan Royal Santas from around the world, artwork by Norman Rockwell and Thomas Nast, and a complete collection of Haddon Sundblom Coca-Cola Santas.
Also on display are Mrs. Hopkins’ personal needlepoint pieces, inspired by artwork and magazine covers she saw throughout her life. After her death in January 1990, the Hopkins family donated the entire collection of more than 2,500 pieces to CHPT. It was Mrs. Hopkins’ collection that launched the Santa Claus Museum.
THE LUMAN COLLECTION
Elaine and Merrill Luman have been collecting Santas throughout their nearly 70 year marriage. The Lumans have traveled the world, reflected in the Santas they’ve collected over the years. Russian nesting Santas and an Asian interpretation of Santa are highlights in their unique collection. Exquisite needlepoint, handmade by Mrs. Luman, and vintage cooking molds are rare pieces.
The Luman collection consists of a large number of Lladro ceramic Santas as well as a large number of Santas in sleighs, ready to deliver gifts to all of the good boys and girls across the globe. Also included are fun Santa socks, nesting dolls, matchsticks, vintage celluloid, and mechanically animated Santas.
The Lumans donated their impressive collection to CHPT in 2019, prompting the expansion of Santa Claus Museum to include a second room.
THE HUBENAK COLLECTION
Enamored by the charm of small-town living, Neva Lou and Al Hubenak chose to make Columbus home after retiring. Once settled in, both actively volunteered for several local organizations, including the Columbus Little League, Hospital Auxiliary, and Garden Club. Al was a member of the CHPT Board of Directors for eight years and conducted city bus tours and historical site visits for CHPT for 10 years.
The Huenaks began collecting Santas in the late 1990s after Neva Lou saw a friend’s fireplace decorated with about 20 Santa figurines. She thought it would be nice to have a few Santas on her fireplace as well. Their enjoyable hobby quickly grew and after 20 years, the Hubenaks amassed a collection of more than 400 Santa figurines, dolls, artwork, and other collectibles.
The Hubenaks donated their expansive collection to the Santa Claus Museum in 2019. Along with the Hopkins and Luman collections, it brings joy to all those who seek the Christmas Spirit.
The Santa Claus Museum is open to the public Thursdays through Saturdays in December. Tours outside of December may be arranged by contacting the Columbus Chamber of Commerce at 979-732-8385 or via email.
Beautiful! Very friendly and just a great experience!