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Highlights Archives

Blast from the Past: Aluminum Christmas Trees

One wing of the 'Tis the Season exhibit of aluminum Christmas trees

Tick, tock, time is winding down on your last chance to take in the largest exhibit of aluminum Christmas trees the Wisconsin Historical Museum has ever offered. The vintage trees from the 1960s, all made in Wisconsin, include all of the trees from the museum's permanent collection as well as trees on loan from around the state and around the country. The exhibit, 'Tis the Season, runs through Saturday, January 9.

Trees in All Shapes, Sizes and Colors

The exhibition features aluminum trees of all shapes, sizes and colors from the 1960s. Silver trees were the most popular, and a Wisconsin company manufactured most of those. The Aluminum Specialty Company of Manitowoc had been manufacturing aluminum toys for decades when they stumbled upon a new idea — the aluminum Christmas tree. After introducing the tree at the American Toy Fair in March of 1959, the company produced hundreds of thousands of trees. Eventually, revolving stands, color wheels and trees in a variety of colors became available. Though its popularity peaked in the mid-1960s, the aluminum tree remains a highly desired collectible.

To enhance the experience, the museum's first-floor gallery is dimly lit, and modern reproduction color wheels and lights cast a colored glow onto the highly reflective aluminum trees. For complete details on museum hours, location, admission, parking and bus routes, see the museum's visitor information section.

:: Posted January 7, 2010

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