Dec. 2 - Saturday
• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Holiday Open House. “Rock Around Holiday Quilt Contest & Show.” All quilt-makers regardless of experience are invited to participate. Winners in each category will receive ribbons. View unique historic display. Enjoy holiday music, homemade cookies, browse our bake sale and search for unique gifts in the museum store. Aluminum Christmas trees will be featured.
Pin Dave Harms down and this veteran nurseryman admits you can’t top a live, fragrant pine for Christmas. But that said, if you are going to embrace an artificial you could do a lot worse than a vintage aluminum tree.
Germany may have exported ornaments here, but the aluminum Christmas trees he hung them from were homegrown. Trees were 2 to 8 feet tall, in colors that ranged from pink to teal. Some were flocked. Others boasted lights on the branches or in the base. Manufactures included Metal Trees Corp., Holi-Gay Manufacturing and Flocking Specialties Inc. in Chicago; and Aluminum Specialty Co. and Mirro Aluminum Co. in Manitowac, Wis. It is estimated Aluminum Specialty, alone, sold some 4 million signature Evergleam brand trees between 1959 and 1969.
After all, they were novel, shiny and spoke to a nation fixated on technology.
“I see it as a moment in time, when we had space exploration coming on and all of these new things being made out of aluminum,” Harms said.
Harms, and antiquing partner Lynne Eltrevoog, have staged holiday displays at the museum for more than a decade. Harms began collecting Christmas memorabilia in 1980, when he first set out to find a lighted tree stand like the one his grandparents used when he was a child.