Belle Meade Plantation’s Victorian Society

Looking for a great mix of fun and history?  Dive into a different time with Belle Meade Plantation’s Victorian Society in 2015!  We’ll meet once a month for various events celebrating the rich history of the Victorian Era.  These events will include movie nights in the mansion parlors, various excursions off property and much more!  Yearly membership is $50 per individual and includes free admission to most* events.  The 2015 schedule is listed below.  For further information please contact Amy-Lee Gillard at amylee.gillard@bellemeadeplantation.com.

 For Victorian Society sign-up, click here.

Victorian Society 2015 Schedule of Events

Monthly (Free) Event Schedule

January 31st 2015: Movie in the Parlors – Little Women
Come join us for a viewing of the 1994 film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s timeless classic Little Women. This story of four sisters evolving from childhood into womanhood contains aspects of adventure, romance, feminism, and self-discovery. It truly captures the full emotional spectrum young women experience as they move from one stage of life to another and perhaps that is why Little Women is one of the most beloved stories in American history.

February 28th 2015: Book Discussion – The American Heiress
During the late 19th and early 20th the expense of running vast estates and employing countless servants left much of the British aristocracy financially depleted. Meanwhile, many wealthy Americans wanted for their daughters that which money simply could not buy: a royal title. The solution for both parties was often arranged marriages which thrust young American women into an entirely alien lifestyle in a land far from their families. Daisy Goodwin’s novel The American Heiress explores this experience for one young woman at the turn of the 20th century. 

March 28th 2015: Parthenon Excursion
Nashville’s reputation as the “Athens of the South” led to the building of a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in ancient Greece for the 1987 Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Just as it would have been in original Parthenon in Athens, the central focus of the Nashville Parthenon is a re-creation of the Athena Parthenos statue. It stands today in Centennial Park and serves as an art museum. We’ll head over to explore the museum and conclude the event with a picnic lunch in the park. 

April 25th 2015: Movie in the Parlors – Hysteria
Victorian Era women suffering from depression, fatigue, anxiety, or any number of ailments were often diagnosed with female hysteria. Patients diagnosed with this condition were frequently prescribed a manual pelvic massage in order to bring on a “hysterical paroxysm” to cure the malady. Doctors claimed that achieving the “hysterical paroxysm” was a challenging and time consuming task to accomplish manually. Thus a mechanical device was developed to assist with this medical treatment. That device is known as the vibrator and Hysteria is a witty film which tells the story of its invention.

May 30th: Tea Party with Etiquette Lesson
Let’s gather together for a good old fashioned tea party. Just as it was with the Victorian upper-class, proper etiquette shall be an important part of this Victorian Society event. But do not worry. We’ll have an expert, Mrs. Cynda Pierce, to guide us through all the intricacies and share with us the history of the tea party.

June 27th: Whist Game Night
The specific games themselves may change over the years but card games have long been a popular social pastime. Come enjoy an evening in the Belle Meade Mansion’s Parlors playing the popular 19th century card game Whist.

July 25th: Tennessee State Museum Excursion
Join us in celebrating the history of Tennessee. The Tennessee State Museum offers more than 60,000 square feet of exhibits devoted to the history of our beloved state. We’ll explore numerous permanent and rotating exhibits which cover the Victorian Era and beyond.

August 29th: Movie in the Parlors – The Four Feathers
The tradition of giving a white feather as a symbol of cowardice has been used by countries associated with the British Empire since the 18th century. Set in the 1880’s, The Four Feathers tells the story of Harry Faversham, a young British officer who resigns his commission due to serious ethical conflictions over his regiment’s assignment. His actions, however, are perceived as cowardice and he his disowned by his family, friends, and fiancé. In spite this, upon leaning his former regiment is in peril, Harry will embark on a dangerous undercover mission to save the friends who betrayed him and win back his true love.

September 26th: Bonfire with play and/or Poe reading
As we transition into the cooler weather of fall, join Victorian Society for an evening bonfire event. Belle Meade’s Theatrical Department will kick off the evening with a short play. Afterwards we’ll roast hotdogs and s’mores over the fire while enjoying a dramatic reading of one of Edgar Allan Poe classics.

October 31st: Mt. Olivet Cemetery Tour with Jenny and John Lamb
Come join us on All Hallows’ Eve for a private tour through Mt. Olivet Cemetery with Belle Meade’s own dynamic duo Jenny and John Lamb. Established in 1856, Mt. Olivet serves as the final resting place for many of Tennessee’s political and economic leaders. We’ll see the graves of many former Belle Meade residents and hear the stories of their lives and tragedies of their deaths.

November 14th: Book Discussion – The Picture of Dorian Gray
The only novel written by Victorian playwright Oscar Wilde is a work of Gothic fiction which tells the story of the beautiful and innocent Dorian Gray’s corruption and eventual downfall.  Quite controversial after its initial publication in 1891, The Picture of Dorian Gray follows the life of a young man who falls in love with a beautiful portrait of himself. After adopting a hedonistic world view, the young man wishes that the portrait would age, rather than him. His wish is granted and Dorian’s life is overcome by amorality and debauchery… All of which is reflected in the portrait but not the man.

December 12th: Holiday Party / Figgy Pudding Cooking Class
In the earlier part of the 19th century Christmas pudding has fallen out of popularity, but then along came Prince Albert who would help revive the long standing tradition. Take a break from the stress of the holiday season and come enjoy the beautiful decorations in Belle Meade’s historic mansion during a Christmas party and cooking class, all in one! We’ll be making the popular Christmas dish figgy pudding.

Victorian Society 2015: Additional Expense Events 

Frist Excursion – March 7th
Painting Party – April 11th
Belle Meade KY Derby Party – May 2nd
Horseback Trail Ride – June 13th
Chukkers for Charity – September 5th (The date has not yet been officially announced but it is typically the first Saturday in September. This event will also require a minimum of 10 attendees with advance payment.)

 

 

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