Auburn Hills, Mich., Nov 11, 2005 –
The Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills is sprucing up for the holidays with Cars, Trees & Traditions, a special exhibition offering a nostalgic glimpse at eight decades of holiday style, Nov. 19 – Dec. 30, 2005.
Cars, Trees & Traditions features authentically decorated trees from the early 1900s – ‘80s, paired with vehicles of those eras. The exhibit follows the evolution of the evergreen’s growing popularity in American holiday culture along with the automobile’s increasing prominence in seasonal traditions.
Trees and vehicles are exhibited with enlarged period advertisements and other graphic imagery along with holiday trimmings, such as wrapped packages and popular gifts of the times. Descriptions accompanying each vignette provide an overview of world events and trends that shaped the celebrations and décor of each era.
Among the trends reflected by each uniquely decorated Cars, Trees & Traditions vignette are:
* Teens and Twenties – The post-war holidays were celebrated with elaborately-decorated trees, many festooned with electric lights.
* Thirties – The cost-conscious attitude of the times was reflected in reduced or non-existent decorating or, at best, the ongoing use of older decorations.
* Forties – The nation’s wartime mood was reflected in somber, rationed holiday observances. Tinsel was noticeably absent from many trees, and ornaments hung from string rather than hooks made of hard-to-find metal.
* Postwar Years – Americans enthusiastically purchased new holiday decorations and gifts, symbolically putting aside dark memories of the war years. New additions to holiday ornamentation included the wildly-popular “bubble lights.”
* Early Fifties – The traditional year-end celebration became more vibrant than ever, marked by bold colors and the energetic flashing and twinkling of new types of holiday ornaments.
* Late Fifties – Plastic ornaments joined glass ornaments on many trees, and foam balls, decorated with sequins, rhinestones, ribbons and beads became a late-fifties fad.
* Sixties – Aluminum trees, illuminated by a spinning color wheel, provided a memorable approach to holiday decorating. More than four million aluminum trees were sold before the fad expired at the end of the decade.
* Seventies – As the use of artificial trees rose dramatically, energy-conscious citizens used fewer holiday lights or turned off most lights in their homes when the holiday tree was plugged in.
Eighties – A return to more prosperous times brought a renewed interest in more traditional holiday celebrations.
Cars, Trees & Traditions is open for self-guided tours 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday and noon – 6 p.m. Sunday. The Walter P. Chrysler Museum is closed every Monday, and November 23 and 24 and December 24, 25 and 31.
Museum admission is $6 for adults and $3 for juniors (6 – 12) and seniors (62 and older). Children five and under are free. Admission is $3 per person for groups of 15 or more with advance registration. General admission includes access to Cars, Trees & Traditions as well as the Museum’s current special exhibition, Hot Rods and Cool Mods.
The Walter P. Chrysler Museum is located at the corner of Featherstone and Squirrel Rds. on the DaimlerChrysler complex in Auburn Hills. From I-75, take exit 78 (Chrysler Dr.) and follow the Museum signs.
For more information, visit the Walter P. Chrysler Museum Web event page or call 888-456-1924.