There will be no story involving family research today. I want to use today’s post as an opportunity to point out that right now we have several stories on display at our museum. Those stories are in the trees. The trees are part of our annual Christmas exhibit here at our museum.
First, let me point out that on December 14th-15th, our museum, part of which was once the first permanent church in Altenburg, will be part of the annual Christmas Country Church Tour.
If you are going to be in the area, and if you have not made plans yet to attend this event, you really out to do so now. This year there are 32 venues on this tour. Many country churches have been decorated for this Christmas season and will be open for visitors to come and take a look.
We have over 50 trees decorated in our museum right now, along with other festive displays such as Nativity scenes and Christmas villages. Each year our exhibit begins on November 15th and goes through January 15th. That means, we are almost halfway through this year’s exhibit time. Many people have already visited us, and we are hoping to host many others during our remaining time.
I happen to think that this year’s display is the best ever. And I say that because I think this year we have so many trees that tell stories. I love storytelling. So in today’s post, I will share with you some of these trees that tell stories, including a little peek at those trees using photographs.
1. The Pioneer Tree
Dorothy Weinhold is the decorator of this tree which has been part of our exhibit for several years. Each year it is a little different. This year is the first year that this tree is a real one. It is the only real tree in our museum, and it has no lights. The tree demonstrates how the early settlers around here must have set up their Christmas trees during those long-ago years. They made their ornaments out of what was available around them. So on this tree you will see feathers, wasp nests, orange slices, nuts, and a variety of other things which could still be found in the woods today.
2. East Perry Winter Tree
This tree includes numerous photographs which were taken in years gone by during the winter. Snow covers the ground and some of our local landmarks are seen as part of a winter wonderland. Also, some of our ancestors can be found playing during this cold season of the year. Blue lights help convey the feeling of frigid weather.
3. Partridge in a Pear Tree
This tree illustrates the items which are included in the lyrics of the old Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas.
4. United States Post Office Tree
Wooden mail slots from the Wittenberg Post Office and the mail hack once used to deliver mail in the Appleton vicinity are paired up with this tree which this year includes part of a museum collection of “First Day of Issue” covers which all honor Martin Luther on this anniversary year of the Reformation.
5. 500th Anniversary of the Reformation Tree
2017 marks the 500th year since Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church in Germany. That event is often considered the beginning point of what became known as the Lutheran Reformation. Martin Luther is highlighted on this tree which is located in our front lobby.
6. Honoring Our Ancestors
This tree is adorned with old photographs of people who once lived in East Perry County. Our museum has quite a collection of these old photos, so many of which are of unidentified people. They are wonderful pictures, but they are a mystery to us. This tree may also be a reminder to you that you should get out those old photos you may have stashed away and write on the back of them who the people are.
7. The Immigration Tree
This tree has been a part of our exhibit for several years. Placed upon the tree are handmade stars upon which have been written the names of the original immigrants who were part of the 1838-1839 immigration to Perry County. These people overcame many hardships to establish their new homes here in America.
8. Tales of Tears Tree
This is a new tree this year. It tells a story which has only recently been discovered. At least one of the steamboats coming up the river in January of 1839 is likely to have crossed paths with the Cherokee Indians being removed to a reservation in Oklahoma in a movement which has gone down in history as the Trail of Tears. This tree tells the story of the exodus of two peoples, one a voluntary exodus….the other an involuntary one. It is decorated with both German and Cherokee items and photographs.
9. Trinity Lutheran Altenburg Sesquicentennial Tree
This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the church building of Trinity Lutheran Church here in Altenburg……just across our parking lot. That church was dedicated on Reformation Day in 1867. The tree is adorned with photographs taken of the inside and the outside of this beautiful church sanctuary.
10. Oh Holy Night Tree
The story is that several years ago, this somewhat defective tree was donated to our museum. It had a big hole in the middle of it where a rather large branch was missing. Ever since, that hole has been filled with a nativity scene which fits perfectly. This tree tells the real Christmas story, with the Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and angels, and the Wise Men. It is the most important story to tell.
We at the museum do hope to see many of you come to visit us here in Altenburg. We hope all of you enjoy a very blessed Christmas, even if you do not have the opportunity to come see our trees. May the peace we experience because Jesus once came into this sinful world to become our Savior be an integral part of your celebration this year.