December 7-21, 2013
The Aluminum Tree Museum is back, at least part of it! This year, see a sampling (about 1/3 of the total collection) at the Transylvania Heritage Museum at 189 West Main Street in downtown Brevard. The blast from the past will take you back to the 1950s when these trees were all the rage. This is a fun, unique holiday outing that will make you smile and brighten your day.
The Aluminum Tree & Ornament Museum (ATOM) is the world's only museum dedicated to vintage aluminum Christmas trees. Dozens of trees and vintage ornaments are typcially displayed in whimsical themes, with displays dedicated to the Marilyn Monroe and Elvis, to name a couple. Color wheels turn to provide the light show.
The Aluminum Tree and Aesthethically Challenged Seasonal Ornament Museum & Research Center was established by Stephen Jackson in Brevard. It all started in 1991 when a friend gave Stephen a tattered aluminum tree from a garbage heap. Remembering the silver tree in his childhood home, he threw a party and asked guests to bring the "most aesthetically-challenged" ornaments. Stephen started collecting them and now owns more than 80. His collection has been featured in Southern Living, Money magazine, the New York Times, National Public Radio and BBC. This year's display includes 20+ trees.
ATOM is an apt name for this Museum, since the trees were produced during the "atomic age" of the mid-20th century. And Brevard is the perfect location since it's next to Pisgah National Forest, a great protector of trees.
Millions of aluminum Christmas trees were produced by over 40 companies in the the USA, Canada, and Australia from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. You can identify vintage trees by noting that the individual branches insert into holes in the center pole ("trunk"). They "genetically engineer" some trees (the aluminum palm trees, the aluminum bonsai) for fun. They include a few new metal trees for visitors to compare to the old vintage trees.
The Transylvania Heritage Museum is 34 miles south of downtown Asheville, and it is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 AM until 5 PM. For more info, call them at 828-884-2347. While you are there, downtown Brevard has many great stores and galleries to explore. The local favorite (and ours) Hobnob restaurant is across the street from the museum. Oskar Blues Brewery is a short drive away.
Read about more Holiday Outings in Asheville. To take home a live tree, visit one of the Christmas Tree Farms.