Children’s Tea at Ocean City Historical Museum always a crowd-pleaser

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This year’s event is set for Feb. 15

OCEAN CITY — Every year, the Ocean City Historical Museum quickly fills the allotted 60 seats at its annual Children’s Tea, with boys and girls happily learning everything from proper etiquette and table manners to the art of setting a table and how tea should be poured.

Jeff McGranahan, the museum’s executive director, said the event, scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 at the museum, 1735 Simpson Ave., is anything but a stuffy affair.

“It’s a lot of fun, the children love it,” he said.

The educational event provides an opportunity for children to rise to the challenge of being on their best behavior, all the while gaining a grown-up sense of confidence.

Hot tea will be served, along with an assortment of tea sandwiches and desserts. There will also be plenty of activities for the children. 

“The purpose of the event is two-fold,” McGranahan said.

The children learn about the history of having tea, and how to conduct themselves in a semi-formal setting. The event also helps introduce the museum to a new generation, making history informative and fun, McGranahan said.

“Many of the children and adults dress the part, but we don’t turn anyone away who is not dressed up,” he said.

According to McGranahan, while a formal tea isn’t something that people may be used to, having tea is a cultural event, and the Children’s Tea is always very popular.

This year’s theme is “F for Fashion,” revolving around the evolution of children’s fashion. It will be a blast from the past for some of the adults accompanying the children, McGranahan said.

“We’re going to be reproducing some paper dolls,” McGranahan said. “The children can take them home and cut the outfits out and make their own. It’s a fun little piece of the afternoon’s events.”

Paper dolls, McGranahan said, were very popular for generations before falling out of favor decades ago.

“These kids don’t know what they are missing, but a lot of the parents and grandparents may remember paper dolls,” he said.

There is no “app” for a paper doll; they only require paper and scissors, and a lot of imagination.

“We’re very hopeful the children will find this to be a lot of fun, something different,” McGranahan said.

The event requires many volunteers to educate the children and facilitate serving dozens of egg salad, cucumber, and ham and cheese sandwiches, along with pot upon pot of hot tea.

“It’s as much fun for us as it is for the children,” said Noel Wirth, a museum board member who assists with the tea each year. “The volunteers look forward to this each year. We enjoy watching the children have such a good time.

“The Victorian tea is important in our cultural history. They learn the proper way to hold a tea cup, how to do things properly,” she said.

Wirth said that often the experience sparks an interest in the children to learn more about proper manners in other venues.

Museum President Dick Stanislaw said it’s no surprise that the event is always sold out.
“The kids have a wonderful time,” he said. “The tea provides a sense of history. It helps them connect to the past and that’s a wonderful thing for children that age.”

Tickets for the tea are $5 for members of the historical museum and $7 for non-members. Those interested in attending the tea should contact the museum at 609-399-1801, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or see

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