Silver Lining

Transylvania Heritage Museum opened its annual displays of aluminum trees this week.

All that glitters: retro tinsel trees are decked out in period-appropriate attire.

With the heavy smoke from the wildfires keeping folks indoors, it’s a good time to visit WNC’s kitschiest holiday attraction, ATOM: the Aluminum Tree and Aesthetically Challenged Seasonal Ornament Museum and Research Center, which opened this week at the Transylvania Heritage Museum. Like the National Gingerbread Competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn up in Asheville, ATOM has received national attention over the years, including name-checks, writeups, blurbs, and shout-outs from Southern Living, the New York Times, the BBC, NPR, and even Money magazine.

But that’s where the comparison stops. Instead of a highbrow culinary fete played out under fluorescent lighting, ATOM comes by its seasonal bling more naturally (pardon the seeming paradox), via the shine reflected from dozens of vintage aluminum trees. Begun by architect/mid-century-modern-decor aficionado Stephen Jackson, the collection has grown in recent years, helped by new contributors who dress up the tinsel twigs in themes of the era (Elvis, the Andy Griffith Show, Hee-Haw, and Marilyn Monroe are favorites.)

Last year’s exhibit feature new trees, new themes, and the creativity of new decorators, with about 25 trees on display that included rare gold, blue, and green ones.

“We’ve scheduled some extra-fun events associated with ATOM this year,” Transylvania Heritage President Pat Childress. The a cappella vocal group The Atomic Sisterhood will perform at 11:30am and 1:30pm on Saturday, December 20, and Santa Claus makes a stop on Saturday, December 17.

Through December 22. 828-884-2347. 189 West Main St., Brevard. www.transylvaniaheritage.com

 

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