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Historic home featured in the 2018 tour

Holiday Lantern Tour Returns
Sunday, December 11 / 4:30 - 7 PM

The MHS Holiday Lantern Tour is a journey through time to glimpse a period in Madison’s history. Together with local students, volunteers, and board trustees, we offer lantern-lit tours each December. After a two-year hiatus, the tour returns in 2022 transporting participants to the 1920s when many Main Street businesses were owned and operated by immigrants, women activists were fighting for the right to vote, prohibition was the law of the land, and the trolley system made leisure travel possible. These stories and others will be told at the Holiday Lantern Tour on Sunday, December 11, from 4:30 to 7 PM. 


In 2019 visitors were transported to the year 1862, when the nation was locked in a civil war. Emilie Ely, whose three older brothers served in the Union Army, greeted guests at Lee’s Academy. The tour then continued to the First Congregational Church to see congregants celebrating the brief return of Reverend Samuel Wheelock Fiske from the battlefield. As a role model to other Madison men, he left his post as pastor to serve in Connecticut’s 14th Volunteer Infantry. The evening walk touched on American holiday traditions during the Civil War, and reenactors appeared along the route to tell stories of courage, hope, and healing.  

Guided Groups Leave Every Thirty Minutes

Guides will lead small groups every thirty minutes, beginning at 4:30 pm. Visitors cover roughly a half-mile, traveling on foot over various terrains for the duration of the tour. For this event, visitors are strongly encouraged to dress warmly and wear appropriate footwear, whether we have rain or clear skies. There is no rain date.

Beginning at Lee’s Academy, the tour makes several brief stops and concludes with a warm fire and refreshments at the Allis-Bushnell House. Unlike previous years, there will be NO indoor stops as COVID considerations prevent us from inviting groups into private homes. Visitors will explore the downtown area and learn about important people and events from Madison’s past. Our goal is to deepen participants' appreciation for our shared past and foster a sense of commitment to supporting and protecting our town’s cultural heritage. 

Important Visitor Information

Tickets are $15 for adults ($10 for MHS members) and $5 for children ages 5-17. They can be purchased online at or by calling 203.245.4567. The tour is recommended for children aged 5 and older.

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