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Monday, December 10, 2012

Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum

Way back in 2009 I had the honor of visiting the "The Aluminum Tree and Aesthetically Challenged Ornament Museum and Research Center" or ATOM for short.  ATOM was a nomadic museum display that appeared for several years in the late 2000s.  It was dedicated to preserving the Aluminum Christmas Tree.

For the uninitiated: Aluminum Christmas Trees were a trend in mid-century America.  Americans grew sick of the "natural" Christmas Tree.  They needed something much more shiny, loud and quasi-futuristic.  Complete with foil needles and topped of with a mysterious lighting device know as the "color wheel" that basks the tree in flashing lights.

ATOM was born out of the personal collection of enthusiast Stephen Jackson.  In 2009 the trees were inexplicably displayed in the remote mountain community of Brevard, NC, whose other claims to fame include being the home Steve Martin and White Squirrels.

But we will talk about that some other time......

The Trees at ATOM where all designed with their own theme.  For some reason most were female country singers.

The Crystal Gale Tree.....

The Dolly Parton Tree.........

The Brenda Lee Tree.....

The Tammy Fay Baker Tree..........

And the obligatory Elvis Tree.........

The Museum even had some oddball variants such as this Aluminum Bonzai Tree......

They included some displays to honor other religions as well, such as this Hanukkah Tree.....

And an Aluminum Buddha.....

And then they took things to the next level and featured exhibits on the life cycle of Aluminum Trees.

 And some fossilized examples.....

And of course it contained the one thing that all Southern Museums contain...............

A Moonshine Still!

Sadly, ATOM has disappeared and even its website has gone dead.  But like the Mighty Aluminum Tree re-emerged I am sure ATOM will rise from the ashes as well.

Merry Kitschmas one and all........

The Carpetbagger

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  1. I cracked up at the sprouts and the fossil display. What a great museum! Sad it's not around anymore.

  2. wow! i would love to visit ATOM. I have two aluminum trees myself, but neither is as spectacularly themed. I need to get on that. and weirdly, I have actually been to brevard this year! i won a trip there! the herb company gaia has their farm/manufacturing plant there. it was so beautiful!

  3. whose other claims to fame include being the home Steve Martin and White Squirrels. Allen K

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