Tinker with valentines Feb. 8

Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum invites you to craft your own Victorian valentines at the museum on Feb. 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. At “Tinkering with Valentines,” museum visitors of all ages will be able to craft a Victorian flower cage or heart-in-hand valentine. Valentines like the flower cage and heart-in-hand feature three-dimensional designs and elaborate paper cutting were popular in the 1800s. A young Robert Tinker was probably familiar with such valentines. In 1851, a teen-aged Robert Tinker wrote in his diary, “Valentine’s day—received four valentines.”

In addition to the chance to make your own version of a historic valentine, all tours of the Cottage feature Hands-on Kits, making the experience more memorable for all ages. Located in rooms throughout the historic building, the Hands-on Kits contain objects for visitors to touch. Being able to closely investigate and handle reproduction items from everyday life from the 1800s and early 1900s gives people a better understanding of everyday life in the era.

Family Day activities are included with regular admission ($4/adults; $3.50 seniors, $1 children 5 to 17; children under 5—no charge). Reproductions of historic valentines are also available at the Tinker Museum Gift Shop in the Tinker Barn & Visitors Center.

Robert H. Tinker built his splendid Swiss Cottage on the Kent Creek after a trip to Europe in 1862. Regular tours are offered Tuesday-Sunday at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. daily. Tours for groups of eight or more are available by reservation seven days a week. Open Tuesday through Sunday year round, Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum is at 411 Kent St., Rockford. Information: 964-2424.

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