The Aluminum Tree and Aesthethically Challenged Seasonal Ornament Museum & Research Center, also known as ATOM, has returned this year to the Transylvania Heritage Museum at 189 West Main St. in downtown Brevard. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
The display bills itself as the only museum for “vintage” aluminum Christmas trees in the world. It all started in 1991 when Donna Waterman gave friend Stephen Jackson, a Brevard architect, the gift of an aluminum Christmas tree. Jackson, who moved to Brevard in ’93, started collecting the unusual trees. His collection eventually reached a total of about 120 trees.
The collection first went on display around 2001, and has been seen in various storefronts and empty shops around town. It’s also been an on-again, off-again display. This is the first year in about three years that the collection is back out for the public to see. What, exactly, will you see? From the Hendersonville Times-News:
There’s the Aus-tree-lian, silver and adorned with kangaroos and other ornaments from Australia.
There’s the Fabulous Fif-tree, dedicated to Marilyn Monroe and Spam, which was “king or queen — who knows?” according to the information card in front of it.
There’s the Things with Wings tree, adorned with angels flittering about the branches.
There’s the Tree-ditionally Teal, labelled as “quite beautiful and you will notice that they frosted the tips of the needles. The color is called peacock.” The scientific name of the Tree-ditionally Teal is “Peacockum light frosticus,” in case you want to look it up.
The Aluminum Tree and Aesthethically Challenged Seasonal Ornament Museum & Research Center was established by Stephen Jackson in Brevard in 1997, and the “center” has been featured in Southern Living, Money magazine, the New York Times, and heard on National Public Radio and BBC. ATOM is an apt name for this Museum, since the trees were produced during the “atomic age” of the mid-20th century.
Thanks to loyal reader White Lightnin’ for the heads-up.