WARSAW — Celebrating the Christmas season year-round, The Party Shop in Warsaw holds a national treasure, one that people from all over the world travel to see.
In its 12,000 square foot space, The Party Shop is home to a keepsake ornament museum, the nation’s largest display of back-issue Hallmark collectibles. The museum started in 1996 and has the only complete keepsake collection, displaying ornaments from 1973 to present.
Hallmark’s keepsake ornaments have changed over the years. In 1973, ornaments started out as simple glass balls with minimalistic designs. Now, ornaments range from Disney and Star Wars characters to light-up keepsakes that play music or talk.
“The museum is definitely a one-of-a-kind collection,” said David Hamrick. “And it has something for everybody, from Harry Potter and Barbie to John Deere and the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.”
Hamrick helps operate The Party Shop store and museum alongside his mother, Dorothy Snyder, and sister, Dana Vlot. The museum holds approximately 5,000 ornaments, and with each passing year, the collection continues to grow. With that large of a number, one might think it’s difficult to pick out a favorite. But the family members each had an immediate answer.
Snyder said she loves specific mailbox ornaments in the museum, while Hamrick enjoys the “Sky’s the Limit” plane ornament series. Vlot loves the “Pony for Christmas” ornament series.
Even though the ornaments on display in the museum aren’t for sale, the store does sell back-issue Hallmark ornaments. And this year, the museum will be adding over 300 new designs from 2018 to its oak cabinets.
The store has shipped ornaments to countries around the world and receives calls on a regular basis from those looking for specific ornaments.
“Families get very interested in all of the ornaments, and it’s become a family tradition,” said Snyder. “There’s a lot of outside people coming in to see the museum and shop, and we’re proud to give back to the community.”
This holiday season, three keepsake ornament artists will make an appearance at The Party Shop from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30. The public will have the opportunity to meet Tom Best, Joanne Eschrich, and Tammy Haddix.
“They’re like ‘rockstars’,” said Hamrick. “And they’re hoping that people come in and give them ideas for what they’d like to see in an ornament. It’s also the perfect opportunity to have artists sign the ornaments they designed.”
Snyder said that corporate typically sends only one keepsake artist for an appearance.
“This is a great way for both corporate and retail to come together,” said Snyder. “It’s a great way for collectors and consumers to meet the artists who designed the ornaments.”
The Party Shop is open seven days a week, offering free tours of the museum to those interested in learning more about the history and progression of Hallmark ornaments.