Celebrating our 5th anniversary, the Santa Claus Museum takes you on a walk through time exploring the birth of this tiny town as it was first laid out on paper in 1846. Moving from one room to the next, you can immerse yourself in historical documents, photos and artifacts illustrating the progression of the town from Santa Fee (pop. 65) to the present day Santa Claus (pop. 2,300). Among the highlights, Postmaster James Martin’s fight to retain the town name of Santa Claus and his yearly efforts to answer waves of children’s letters to Santa that overwhelmed his tiny post office every December.
In addition to the history of the town, museum founder Patricia Koch has also included mementos from her family including her father, world-renowned Santa Jim Yellig. Jim began as Santa while serving in the Navy in 1914 during World War I. Stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Santa Jim and his fellow crewmembers threw a Christmas party for underprivileged school children. After the war, Santa Jim came home where he would go on to answer the thousands of letters written to Santa that would flow into the Santa Claus Post Office each year. Family photos and some of Santa Jim’s mementos document his love for the children and spreading the spirit of Santa Claus worldwide.
Adults and children alike can share the joy of Christmases of yesteryear with antique toy displays, real letters to Santa covering several decades and a large collection of Santas of every shape, size and interpretation. Also on display are pictures and collectibles showing the history of local attractions like Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari and the Lake Rudolph Campground.
Our museum also serves as the headquarters for Santa’s Elves, a group of volunteers who tirelessly answer the thousands of children’s letters that arrive for Santa every year.
Don’t forget to visit the 1880 Santa Claus Church, and the 1935 Santa Statue. The original Santa Claus Post Office is still under renovation but will hopefully be open soon!