MORRISTOWN — For the 22nd year, Morristown’s Assumption School fourth grade students have handcrafted period-style ornaments for the Macculloch Hall Historical Museum Drawing Room Christmas tree under the direction of their art teacher, Barbara Silverstein.
A sizeable collection of cornucopias, cotton Santas, tussie mussies, fans and scrap tinsel ornaments are carefully stored in the attic from year to year, donated over two decades by the children who made them. This year students worked with quality reproduction die-cut images or “scraps” mounted onto gold foil covered cardboard bells and silver paper circles, fringed for textural dimension. Popular during the mid 1800s through the first quarter of the 20th century, brightly colored die-cuts were produced and sold in sheets that were cut up and combined with a myriad of materials to create ornaments.
Students also learned about Dresden ornaments, named for the area in Germany where they were made. These highly collectable embossed die-cuts were made into either flat or three-dimensional styles. Several reproduction Dresden ornaments have been donated to the museum and are hung near the top of the tree.
The tree and other decorations will be on display beginning the weekend of Dec. 1 and 2 when the Museum will be open 1 – 4 p.m. for special tours through the decorated period rooms. The Museum is decorated for the holidays in traditional style by the Garden Club of Morristown. The home features the museum’s collection of holiday-themed original artwork by caricaturist Thomas Nast.
Nast, a well-known political cartoonist who popularized the Democratic Donkey and the Republican Elephant, also contributed to America’s contemporary image of Santa Claus. Visitors will find more than thirty of Thomas Nast’s original Santa and Christmas images throughout the museum’s galleries and period rooms. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum has the largest collection of Nast originals in the nation.
Holiday programming during December includes live music at 4:30pm on Sunday Dec. 2 when “The Early Music Players” perform “Carols and Capers: A Music Celebration from the Olde and New Worlds” which celebrates the season with a collection of beautifully performed holiday music from various countries spanning the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods (1300’s – 1700’s).
On Sunday, Dec. 16, 4:30 p.m. when F.M. Kirby Curator Ryan Hyman presents “Thomas Nast’s Historical Icons.” Learn about nineteenth century political cartoonist Thomas Nast including his popularization of the modern day image of Santa Claus. Tickets available on the day of the program, no advance sales. Visit maccullochhall.org for full details and ticket pricing.
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