Tinsel Town

The Steep Canyon Rangers Christmas Tree.

Founded by Stephen Jackson and curated by Pat Childress, the Aluminum Tree & Ornament Museum (ATOM) has shifted locations over the decades, settling in nicely at the Transylvania Heritage Museum the last few years. Showcasing original specimens from the era, the display is meant to celebrate that Mid Century Modern fixture, the shiny tinsel tree, in all its kitschy splendor.

But even such an innovative concept — it’s touted as the world’s only aluminum-tree museum — needs some freshening up now and then. This year, reports Childress, the theme trees are all new. She’s opened the collection to the whole community, resulting in trees trimmed with a sparkling variety of motifs, both universal and micro-local.

These include the Atomic Sisterhood tree — honoring the local women’s singing group that’s performed at ATOM since the late ’90s — a tree in homage to Robin Williams, a historic Brevard tree, and a trendy emoji tree.

Two trees honor hometown heroes: a first-responder tree and a Steep Canyon Rangers tree. (The latter specimen celebrates the Grammy-spangled bluegrass band founded in Brevard.)
Proving that ATOM is forever serious about its fun, Childress further reports: “Every year, we display Aluminum Christmas tree seeds and some information about the lore of Aluminum Christmas Tree Farming.”

The Aluminum Tree & Ornament Museum (ATOM) is open 10am-5pm Wednesdays through Saturdays through December 23. Transylvania Heritage Museum, 189 W. Main St., Brevard. www.transylvaniaheritage.org. 828-884-2347.

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