Pick of the Week: Tea party at History Museum Thursday

The History Museum of Hood River County holds a tea party on Thursday, June 14.

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The History Museum of Hood River County holds a tea party on Thursday, June 14.

The tradition of afternoon tea — with all the expected niceties, including intimate tables set with fine linens and china, plates of handcrafted sweet and savory treats, and cups of freshly brewed tea — will be captured at The History Museum of Hood River County at 3 p.m. on Thursday June 14.

“Restaging last year’s cheerful gathering, the event will fill the gallery spaces with conversation and laughter as friends gather to share this honored afternoon ritual,” said a museum press release.


Jeanne Carver

“Tea drinking is a custom adopted widely across the world. But given America’s early heritage, it is not surprising that Americans often think of the afternoon custom of tea and cookies as closely tied to British culture. Indeed, with America’s general lack of the pomp and circumstance reserved for royalty, it is not surprising that many here look to Britain to satisfy a desire for ceremonial tradition,” continued the press release.

The popularity of the recent royal wedding, that had millions of Americans glued to their televisions through the early hours of the morning watching Prince Harry marry American Meghan Markle, underscored this American fascination with ritual mixed with celebrity, said the press release.

“The museum’s event is an afternoon tea, often mislabeled as High Tea,” it continued. “This is due to a misconception about the meaning of word ‘High’ in the context of British teatime customs. Historically, tea was an expensive beverage, imported to Europe from faraway Asia beginning in the 16th century. The Dutch and English competed for the lucrative European tea market, and the British eventually built up cultivation and production capacity in India to circumvent China’s monopoly.

“Because of its expense, the exotic beverage made from imported tealeaves became the fashionable drink of the wealthy British upper classes. Becoming a late-afternoon ritual, the drinking of tea was accompanied by sweet and savory treats, and usually served on low tables (today’s coffee tables) in a lady’s sitting room.

“As the price came down, the drinking of tea migrated to the lower social/economic classes. It was often part of a heavier evening meal served at the taller dining or kitchen table — thus becoming known as ‘high’ tea,” explained the museum’s press release.

The June 14 tea will include a sneak preview of the upcoming exhibition “Follow the Thread: From Fiber to Fabric.” Highlighting the museum’s textile collection, the show draws on the talents of the local textile arts community. Vintage pieces are joined by contemporary creations utilizing both historic and innovative techniques. In keeping with the exhibition theme, celebrity sheep rancher and designer Jeanne Carver of the Imperial Stock Ranch will be the featured speaker. Carver worked with Ralph Lauren on the outfits worn by America’s 2018 Winter Olympics team.

Reservations are required. Tickets are available at The History Museum of Hood River County, 300 E. Port Marina Drive, or by calling 541-386-6772.

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