Remember the moment in the 1965 TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas" when Lucy says she wants "the biggest aluminum tree" anywhere? She was tapping into a holiday fad of the day: aluminum Christmas trees.
"It's a huge Wisconsin story of innovation and holiday nostalgia that only the [museum] can tell," museum spokeswoman Ellen Pincus said by email.
The Aluminum Specialty Co. in Maitowoc, Wis., was first to market the space age-looking trees, known as Evergleams, half a century ago. More than a million wound up in American homes as a substitute for--or maybe even a complement to--a traditional pine or fir, according to the museum. Faux-tree lovers placed them on revolving stands with a light wheel that cast different colors.
The company stopped making them in the 1970s, but now the trees have retro appeal.
"What began as a novel, stark departure from tradition is now an evoker of nostalgic Christmas memories," Pincus says. (If you're pining for your own Evergleam, all is not lost. EBay lists a bunch of them, from $99 to $900 for a 6-foot blue tree.)
The exhibit opens Tuesday and continues until Jan. 11 at 304 N. Carroll St.