Posts Tagged ‘tree exhibit’

Of Corsets and Christmas Trees

Monday, December 5th, 2011

What do corsets and mustache cups have to do with Christmas trees?  They’re a natural fit at the Andover Historical Society’s annual history-inspired tree exhibit.  This year’s tree inspirations were pulled from our latest exhibit, Common Indecency, which takes a light-hearted look at the things we do before we go out.  Dressing gowns, curling irons, button hooks, toilet paper, and, yes, corsets, are included in the exhibit.  All were the inspiration for 20 Christmas trees decorated by community groups and members.

The history-inspired Christmas trees and Common Indecency are open every Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, through December 31.  General admission is $5, free to Historical Society members and all children under 12.  Follow the links for information about the tree exhibit and all our December programs.

Thank you to all our designers and decorators!

"Unmentionables in the Garden" tree decorated by Jean Cookson, assisted by Sandra Millar and Josie and Debra DuBois


Director’s Blog: What can you do at the Historical Society this week?

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Have you seen the forest AND the trees?

Detail from a 2009 history-inspired tree

Our exhibit of history-inspired trees will be open every Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm through December 31.  Twenty-five history-inspired, decorated trees fill the rooms and halls of the Blanchard House.  Inspirational objects were chosen from our latest exhibit, Common Indecency and include, believe it or not, toilet paper, Victorian corsets, and vintage soap box.  General admission to the tree exhibit is $5.  The exhibit is free for Historical Society members and children under 12.


Director’s Blog: What can you do at the Historical Society this week?

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Decorate a “History-Inspired” Tree

A 2010 tree inspired by travel momentos in the Blanchard House

Be a part of our fourth annual exhibit of history-inspired trees.  Volunteers, members, businesses, and organizations select an object from our latest exhibit, Common Indecency, to inspire a uniquely decorated tree.  Our goal is to have 25 trees gracing the rooms and halls of the Blanchard House.  Come with your family, or a group of friends, and be inspired by history!  Call Carrie Midura at 978-475-2236 to learn more about this year’s exhibit and how you can be a part.


On the 10th Day of Christmas Trees…

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

The Cub Scouts brought to us… a very boy-ish tree ready to return to the woods!

Decorated by Cub Scout Pack 79

Happy Birthday Cub Scouts! Founded in 1910, the Scouts have had a very long tradition, including here in Andover. Decorating a tree loaded with pinewood derby cars, council patches, earned badges and achievement award ribbons, Cub Scout Pack 79 of Andover is proud to represent Scouting here at the Christmas Tree Exhibit.

Inspired by some of the Cub Scouting gear and uniforms in our collection, you could definitely say that Cub Scout Pack 79 did their best in decorating this scouting themed tree! Like the other scout tree, they worked with with boys from all over the town to create enough ornaments to fill an entire tree. Ranging from pristinely constructed pinewood derby racers to event patches from past museum sleepovers and outdoor adventures – these boys clearly have a creative touch!

The display under the tree skirt has even more great detail with a full camping stove, lantern, sleeping bag – and of course some scouting books – all ready to go on the next big camping trip!


On the 9th Day of Christmas Trees…

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

The Girl Scouts did bring to us… a tree filled with whatchmacallits of every shape and size!

Decorated by Girl Scouts Shawsheen Service Unit

Girl Scouts come in all colors, from all races around the world. Every Girl Scout is a sister no matter where she is from, no matter the language she speaks, no matter the color of her skin. We have a promise and a law. On our honor, we try to do our best to be fair and square.

Some of us are tall, and some of us are small. When we get together, size doesn’t matter at all. Sometimes we are nutty. We love to joke and play. We’d love to put a Girl Scout smile into everyone’s day.

When we get together, we seem to make circles. We sit in circles, play circle games, and make a Friendship Circle. You could say we are well-rounded. Girl Scouts respect all living things. The earth is our home and we want to keep it safe for everyone.

We get a kick out of wearing our uniforms, learning new things, helping others, and being together with our friends. Girl Scouts are “chips off the old block”.

Girl Scouting began in 1912. Since then we have been part of an old tradition, and are proud to be part of the future.

Patricia Harlow (modified)

The Shawsheen Service Unit of the Girls Scouts of Eastern Mass really outdid themselves with this tree! Inspired by the vintage Girl Scout uniforms in the Society’s collection, one troop went out of their way to contact all the other girl scouts in Andover and North Andover and asked them to make swaps or whatchamacallits (a small crafted item that can be traded with other new scout friends) for the Christmas Tree. The ingenuity of these young ladies is outstanding as miniature plates of brownies, smores on sticks, girl scout t-shirts, beaded pins and so much more absolutely cover their tall tree.

Each item has a troop number on it, and in many cases, a scout’s name. They’re all hoping to receive their items back at the end of the exhibit – and wouldn’t you if you put that much energy into making such charming ornaments?


On the 8th Day of Christmas Trees…

Friday, December 17th, 2010

The Friends of the Senior Center did bring to us… a loving and lovely heart filled tree!

Decorated by Friends of the Andover Senior Center

Where did the Valentine Card industry get its start in America?
Right here in Massachusetts!

Sometime in the mid-19th century time period, the tradition crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and Massachusetts is credited with the birth of the commercial Valentine market in America. Esther Howland, of Worcester, MA, received a Valentine card from someone in England. She was a student at Mt. Holyoke College, and when she received this commercially made card from England, she began making cards. Her Father was a stationer, and she began to sell the cards in his store in Worcester. The business grew, Esther hired friends to help her make more cards, and the commercial Valentine Card industry in America began.

Ever since that time, children in American schools have been enjoying and celebrating this holiday by trading cards, sharing treats, and partaking in special school activities. The decorations on this tree represent cards and traditions from this earliest time to the present.

Special thanks to Andover H.S. student Chloe Cabaret- Salameh for the origami decorations found on the tree.

An antique pop-up valentine card from the Society's collection

Board members of the Friends of the Senior Center came together to create their second tree for us – this year with the theme of school Valentine parties and inspired by some of the beautiful Victorian valentines in our collection. Borrowing from teacher’s classroom and constructing new ornaments and trimming – this tree is red, white and pink all over. Some of the special details include bunches of paper roses and small feathered cupids arrows that are just waiting to catch some unsuspecting lover’s heart!

Of course, the best valentines are those that are hand-made and many fond memories will be recalled while viewing the loving detail that clearly went in to creating some of the charming ornaments!

Snoopy loves every holiday!


On the 7th Day of Christmas Trees…

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Atria Marland Place did bring to us… a very yummy and satisfying Christmas Tree!

Decorated by Atria Marland Place

Remember the days when you went off to school sporting your bright and shiny lunch box featuring your favorite cartoon, comic book, TV show or movie character? Maybe you got a new favorite lunch box with a scene from Snow White, Roy Rogers or the Lone Ranger under the Christmas tree. Not made today the way they used to be, the “real” lunch boxes were sturdy metal or tin with thermoses, too!

The real treat was opening that box at lunch in the school cafeteria to find a special surprise (fresh baked toll house cookies or a candy apple?) lovingly prepared by mom. Maybe you’d swap your peanut butter sandwich for a friend’s turkey on white bread or cheeseburger from the school cafeteria line!

But best of all was gathering together to socialize with friends, sharing the day’s events, interests and activities, telling stories, or making plans for the weekend. And that time together breaking bread with friends, perhaps  sharing childhood memories of a simpler life, remains special for all of our residents at Atria Marland Place!

A tree that features both John Wayne and Yoda (on metal lunchboxes!) is a hit in our book! The Historical Society was thrilled to have Marland Place returning as tree decorator in 2010 especially with such a mouth-watering theme. This year their tree was inspired by the lunch time necessities in our collection, such as plastic trays, thermos and hampers. It features three distinct lunch containers – handled metal lunchboxes of all sizes that many of remember from childhood (including some great vintage Disney pieces), small packed black lunch tins with old-fashioned paper-wrapped sandwiches and fresh fruit, and then, of course, no lunch time tree would be complete without a few brown paper lunch bags!

However, one of the most charming parts of the tree is beneath it.. not on it! A cheery red and white checkered cloth forms the tree skirt and a picnic lunch has been carefully packed in the wicker hamper. But if you look closely, you’ll find some uninvited guests! Luckily they haven’t seemed very hungry during the exhibit…


On the 6th Day of Christmas Trees

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Joan Patrakis did bring to us… a tree filled with everything budding artists could create!

Decorated by Joan Patrakis

The Historical Society has a wonderful collection of school artwork and crafts, including watercolors like the ones on display. In addition, numerous craftmen have lived in Andover and developed their skill in this town – many starting as young children. This tree is inspired by those young crafters and painters and the many techniques they learned along the way from painting and wood-work to stitchery and drawing.

This Bird of Paradise was painted in watercolors by a school girl in the 19th century

Joan Patrakis delved into the collections of the Society, drawing inspiration from the beautiful watercolors that are on display, such as the lovely Bird-of-Paradise at left. At a time when young ladies were expected to be accomplished in numerous fine arts – painting schools, sculpture classes, and even floral workshops were all the rage. Joan pays tribute to the school girl studies by decorating her tree with mini-reproductions of hand-stitched samplers and watercolor studies typically hidden away in our archives and textile storage. She also added a few twists of her own with a fabric wrapped twig star, and samplers and knitting piecework that she stitched herself.


On the 5th Day of Christmas Trees…

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Angela McBrien did bring to us… a tree fit to attend a Christmas Soiree!

Decorated by Angela McBrien

The invention of the sewing machine freed women from the tedium of hand sewing and left women with more time to embellish their dresses. The typical dress of 1870 was a riot of ruffles, bows and frills, all in the intense jewel tone colors that were made possible by the discovery of the artificial dyes.

No, our machine doesn't have chicken pox - there are just lots of those red lights reflecting on the display case!

Angela chose to take her tree to new heights and really ‘dress’ it up for the holiday display! After researching sewing machines from the 1870s, similar to the one on display, and discovered just how much finery, ruffles, and trimmings were being added to gowns as result of the speedier process.  A full display of home economics and sewing lesson tools are on exhibit along side the sewing machine – from thimbles and needle books to displays of antique buttons and sewing sample books.

The red satin and red lights of the tree are truly stunning in our main gallery and it’s getting ohs and ahs from all the ladies, young and old alike! Who wouldn’t want to step out the door to a Christmas Party dressed in such a fine gown?

Angela custom made this beautiful bodice for her tree - the shoulders are wired to remain delicately in their proper place!


On the 4th day of Christmas Trees…

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Andover Fire Rescue Personnel did bring to us… a tree filled with safety tips!

Decorated by Andover Fire Rescue

Fire can strike and drastically, even sometimes tragically affect those of all ages in a very short period of time. Fire can double in size every 30 – 45 seconds by consuming everything in its path. It is due to this rapid destruction that it is necessary to make every attempt to prevent a fire from occurring in the first place. Good fire prevention and safety practices should be developed within every home, school and workplace to prevent fires from ever occurring. However, if one were to occur, all should know how to respond to ensure the safety of others.

For the above reasons, and many more not listed, Andover Fire Rescue has chosen to decorate our tree with fire prevention messages and seasonal safety tips that may assist you in preventing a destructive fire from becoming a part of your life. Andover Fire Rescue is committed to educating all to prevent injury and reduce risks while participating in daily activities.

Education is not just about learning how to read, write and do arithmetic, it’s also learning to lead a safe, healthy and fire safe life.

The Historical Society has long collected items related to Andover’s fire fighting history – from early 20th century fire helmets to a fire safety box acquired just two years ago. Inspiring the Fire Safety tree are just some of these items, plus some beautiful engraved metal badges that any firefighter would be proud to wear.

Every child knows the familiar sound of the fire alarm and has learned the common catch saying like “Where there’s smoke there’s fire” or “Don’t play with matches,” and it’s almost always the local fire department and their brave, yet tireless staff, that we have to thank for those lessons!

Happy Holidays from Andover Fire Rescue!