Patrons have a tea-rrific time at museum ’high tea’

Fran Brownell
Sue Buhler shares her extensive tea cup collection with visitors at the Pratt County Historical Museum and with 50 area women who attended a "high tea" event last Thursday at the museum. The collection will be on display until March 31 at the museum.

A special tea cup collection provided the setting for a “high tea” party held February 27 at the Pratt County Historical Museum.

Sue Buhler of Pratt made available more than 200 tea cups and related items from her personal collection, including a tea-cup quilt, to more than 50 attenders welcomed by organizers, Museum Curator Charmaine Swanepoel and docents Jenny Schmidt, Sue Buhler and Faye Kuhn to the high tea.

“Sue’s collection of tea cups and saucers inspired the idea,” Schmidt said.

Buhler’s collection items have been on display at the museum, and continue as such.

“It was lots of fun and I think everyone enjoyed it,” Swanepoel said.

Guests used the occasion to catch up on news and to sample from table upon table of finger foods and sweets prepared by Schmidt, Swanepoel, Buhler and Kuhn.

Cheeseballs on pretzel sticks, cream-cheese pinwheels, petifores and tea sandwiches, along with other delectables, were artfully and elegantly displayed on tables decorated with flowers, beads and crocheted doilies.

Buhler’s tea cup collection dates back to 1967, when at age nine she bought her first cup and saucer on a family trip to South Dakota.

A focal point of the display was a quilt created especially for Buhler by Apple Patch Quilters as a retirement gift in 2010 to commemorate Buhler’s teaching career. It features 20 colorful patchwork teacups.

The Buhler display also included a tea set which belonged to her grandmother.

“When I stayed with my Grandma Babe, we always stopped in the afternoon and had a tea party,” Buhler said. “We never used this tea set as it was reserved for special occasions. It now belongs to my daughter Katie.”

A grouping of blue Russian cups, saucers and teapots that Buhler has received from her husband Don and daughter Katie over the years is also in the collection.

Buhler said many of the linens featured in the display came from Don’s family.

“His great grandmother did lots of crochet,” Buhler said.

Guest Kay Sewell’s “hat” captured the admiration of other guests who learned that she had created it that morning using a plastic headband and hot gluing a colorful arrangement of artificial flowers on a base cut from a paper plate.

“I cut a loofah apart for the netting and I selected colors to coordinate with my outfit,” Sewell told friends who admired her handiwork. “It was a ‘Royal Family’ inspiration.”

Guests congregated in Grandma’s Garden to visit and “take tea” – or coffee – depending on their preference.

Priscilla White and Marjorie Barker were among the guests taking “High Tea” and reflecting on the elegance of the occasion and the importance of Pratt County Historical Museum to area residents.

“It’s fabulous!” White said. “Charmaine’s done a fabulous job. It’s better than any museum I’ve been to.”

Barker chimed agreement.

“Charmaine’s the best thing since sliced bread for this place,” Barker said. “They couldn’t pay her enough for what she’s worth.”

Buhler’s display will remain on exhibit through March 31.

Museum hours are 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays and 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

General admission is $4 for adults, $2 ages 12 – 18 and free for ages 11 and under.

Admission is free to members and annual memberships are available at $25 for individuals and $40 for families.

Lifetime members are available at $150 for individuals and $250 for families.

The Pratt County Historical Museum is located at 208 South Ninnescah; phone 620-672-7874.