The Dickens Christmas Village is up and running at the Carnegie Heritage Center in Edgartown, Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 am to 4 pm, through Dec. 22. The adorable display is courtesy of Debbie and Dave Brown.
Debbie began collecting the village in 1998. “The pieces are all from Department 56, a company in Minnesota,” Brown said. “All the buildings are porcelain. I first saw them at Fligors Department Store in Edgartown. Mrs. Fligors had them set up. I loved them. When she closed the business, she asked if I’d like to purchase the remaining ones.”
The Dickens Village is made up of hundreds of individual pieces, some which were gifts from friends and family, but many are from Fligors. Brown used to work at the Point Way Inn (now the Richard) where the tradition began. “We weren’t open in the winter so I’d set these pieces up for Christmas in Edgartown,” Brown said. “I did it for six years there, but then the building was sold and I didn’t set up for a number of years. But in 2022, I was out on a walk, and headed into the Carnegie and asked if they’d be interested.”
“The Brown’s generosity in mounting this installation is really staggering. We are so lucky,” Sissy Biggers, Carnegie community engagement and tour director, shared.
The display is a fun and cozy miniature wonderland and takes days to set up. “There’s been a lot of detail and love and ingenuity put into this over the years,” said Carnegie executive director Nevette Previd. “We gave them the run of our gallery space downstairs, and as far as we’re concerned, a permanent home for the collection as long as the Brown’s want to do it. We had hundreds of people through over the Thanksgiving holiday.”
The Dickens Village display showcases a variety of warmly lit businesses, including a theater, antique shop, bakery, post office, and even the infamous Scrooge and Marley Accounting building. There are also houses — including those with people dancing in the tiny windows — a skating rink with motorized people skating, a lighthouse, a boat repair shop, animals, a working train and much more.
“Recently a little boy asked how many houses I had, and I didn’t know, so he counted them for me and said ‘You have 71 houses!’” Brown laughed.
If you plan to visit the Dickens Village at the Carnegie, give yourself plenty of time because everytime you walk around the display, you see something you hadn’t seen on the first round.
Carnegie Heritage Center, 58 North Water St., Edgartown. Suggested donation of $5 per adult.