Comments by Mary Gallagher
|If you’re old enough to remember the ’60’s as I am plus being a vintage aficionado this is an exhibit even I may venture a winter trip to Wisconsin to see. Plus anytime is a good time to spend in the great city of Madison. One of my most treasured art pieces was bought in a gallery here at least 25 years ago. Pus the restaurant scene is phenomenal.Vintage silver, pink, gold and green aluminum trees spotlighted to sparkle, along with accessories such as rotating tree stands and colored light projectors, are on view this holiday season at the Wisconsin Historical Museum in an exhibition of the largest collection of Evergleams ever available to the public. ’tis the Season, on exhibit November 26, 2013 through January 11, 2014, welcomes visitors to stroll the Evergleams and explore their origin and development by Wisconsin’s Aluminum Specialty Company.
Even though it’s been over 50 years since the Evergleam aluminum Christmas tree burst on to the holiday decorating scene, today’s retro, Mad Men inspired nostalgia is renewing popular interest in the strikingly different holiday tradition. The Aluminum Specialty Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin made the Evergleam tree, by far the most popular brand in a crowded marketplace. More than one million Evergleams, in a variety of colors and sizes, made their way to American homes in the 1960’s.
Aluminum Specialty stopped making the trees in the early 1970’s, but many of their trees remained integral to family Christmas traditions. Today the space-age era trees are in high demand at antique stores throughout Wisconsin and online auctions command substantial prices.
Success, however, came with scorn by critics who proclaimed aluminum trees symbols of the commercialization of Christmas. In the television special A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), Lucy wanted “the biggest aluminum tree [Charlie Brown] could find, maybe even painted pink.” Charlie ultimately selected a real, but skimpy tree because it better reflected his view of the true spirit of Christmas. Today, “The pink trees are the holy grail” says ’tis the season curator Joe Kapler who continually grows the museums collection. Kapler has not seem one surface on the market since 2005.
“The aluminum Christmas tree is a huge Wisconsin story” says Kapler. “It’s about a Wisconsin manufacturer creating a national design trend and becoming a breakthrough success. What started as a space-age departure from tradition is ironically, today, an evoker of nostalgic Christmas memories.” ‘Tis the season to welcome the holiday in all its ever gleaming wonder at the Wisconsin Historical Museum on Madison’s Capitol Square.
Museum Store Annual Holiday Sale
Now as a museum goer extreme what do I never miss? The Gift Shop of course and this is an even more wonderful sale it’s BEFORE Christmas so you can do all your shopping.
Thursday, December 12, 2013 – Sunday, December 15, 2013 Open daily from Thanksgiving through Christmas, Monday through Saturday 9 am–4 pm, Sunday 11 am–4 pm
Give the gift of Wisconsin history and support the museum. This holiday sale features gifts from our Real Wisconsin line and a great selection of Wisconsin books for young and old readers alike. There’s sure to be something for everyone on your shopping list. Society members receive a 10-percent discount.
No fee to shop the holiday sale. To tour the museum, admission is by donation — $4 for adults, $3 for children under 18 or $10 for a family.
|Links to More Information
The Wisconsin Historical Museum is located at 30 N. Carroll St. on Madison’s Capitol Square and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is by donation: $4 per adult, $3 per child or $10 per family. The Museum features four floors of exhibition space and a unique museum store. Call (608) 264-6555 for more information, or visit us online at www.WisconsinHistoricalMuseum.org.