2015 Altenburg Christmas Trees

2015 Chirstmas Tree Display 11-15-2015The Altenburg Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum has brought back their ever-popular Christmas tree display. The museum has undergone some major renovations to make more room for genealogical research, so I was wondering how they were going to find space for all the trees I had seen in previous years.

Director Carla Jordan said they have about the same 47 give-or-take trees they’ve always had, but they’ve made more efficient use of the space available. I’ve been going to the exhibit since 2010, and I recognize some ornaments, but they are used in different ways, so don’t think just because you’ve seen it once that it’ll look the same.

If you are looking for decorating ideas before putting up your own tree, you’ll find some great ideas here. The museum is open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free (and the place has the cleanest bathrooms in SE MO). The volunteer staff will make you feel right at home. This was one of my mother’s favorite places. It’s a pleasant 30-mile drive from Cape over some beautiful farm country. The exhibit will be up from now through January 15.

Earlier exhibits

Christmas tree photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.

Altenburg Christmas Trees

Altenburg Museum Dressing for Christmas TreeI was busy shooting photos for my Last Generation project in Perry County, so I didn’t have much time to hang around the Altenburg Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum while they were putting up this year’s Christmas Tree Exhibit. In fact, the only shot I could find was of Dorothy Weinhold perched on a ladder putting the finishing touches on her tree.

[Drat! I just discovered that the Dorothy photo is on a harddrive buried in the back of the van. Sorry, Dorothy, I don’t have any way to get to it. I’ll have to sub a photo from an earlier year.]

Director Carla Jordan posted on the Heritage Center’s website, “The museum will be open every day from 10am-4pm this season (except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.)  We will be open until 8pm every Thursday evening in December, and until 9pm on Dec. 19th & 20th for the Christmas Country Church Tour. Admission is always free.”

Warren Schmidt Video

Fortunately, Warren Schmidt my favorite right-wing curmudgeon and executive board president, transformed a bunch of still photos into an impressive video so you can sample the flavor of the exhibit.

Past exhibits

Travel update

OU War Memorial 11-27-2013If you saw Wednesday’s Athens Winter Storm Video, you might figure out why I decided to stay another day in Ohio. The West Virginia DOT website showed most of the route through the mountains as clear, but there were a few patches that were marked as slush and a couple that said “severe.”

Iffy road conditions and a gazillion cars heading for grandma’s and already late didn’t sound like fun. I’d rather drive when the roads are clear and everybody is holed up with football, parades and turkey.

I slept late, then went up to the library to research the protest movement in the late 60s and early 70s for an exhibit I’m doing in the spring. There’s a pretty good chance I’ve spent more time in the OU library in the past two days than I ever did when I was a student.

I was scurrying to get back to my car before the parking meter ran out when I spotted the iconic War Memorial statue warming his back in the last rays of the afternoon sun. He must have needed it: there’s still a patch of snow on his shoulder.

I should be Florida-bound Thursday. I hope there will be some turkey left when I pull into the driveway.

Counting Bugs on the Wall

My Altenburg friend Warren Schmidt was riding herd on a youth group that stayed overnight at the museum. He posted this as his Facebook status: “I think the effects of trying to sleep on a church pew in the museum last night are catching up with me. I don’t suppose I should make up for it by sleeping in a church pew tomorrow morning.

My parents put together a scrapbook of my first grade experiences at Trinity Lutheran School. It had photos, school papers, drawings and my lessons. Dad was away working Kennett during this period, so we kept in touch by phone a couple times a week and on weekends. I think he must have been responsible for the diary portion of the scrapbook.

Seeing Warren’s status report made me think of this entry from Sunday, September 19, 1953: “The whole family went to 8 o’clock church. I didn’t wiggle very much. To pass the time away, I counted 13 bugs on the wall….

Exhibit preview Oct. 16

Warren must have been standing guard to keep the kids from drawing mustaches (and worse) on my photos being exhibited in the museum.

I’m going to be doing a preview “picking party” slide and video show at the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum Tuesday, October 16, at 6:30pm. I have more material than will fit into the slot allocated for my presentation at an immigration conference scheduled for the next week, so I’m looking for folks who can help me trim. (“All of the above” might be the correct answer, but, please, be gentle.)

I’d love to have folks see the photos hanging in the exhibit and have a chance to hear my war stories. (I’m pretty sure some of my old teachers figured that I had pretty good chance of hanging, but they were thinking of Jackson’s Hanging Tree, not a museum.)

No Tomatoes Were Thrown

Perry County is experiencing a bumper crop of tomatoes this summer, so I was a little uneasy about facing an audience at the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum in Altenburg. Folks up in the ridges aren’t shy about expressing their opinions, and I was hoping not to come home dripping rotten tomato juice.

The purpose of my visit was to have the audience help narrow down some print selections for an exhibit this fall and for me to gauge response to to my talk about regional photography.

I didn’t do a head count, but museum director Carla Jordan said about 40 people attended, about twice what we had anticipated. It was a good group. I went longer than planned, but I didn’t hear any snoring and I didn’t hear any boards creaking that would have given away anyone who tried to sneak out early.

Brother Mark and his friend Robin Hirsch came down from St. Louis. Robin was kind enough to shoot a couple of these photos.

Last resident of Wittenburg

Joanne Holley, in the front row, left, is the last resident of Wittenberg. Her husband, Dave Holley, storyteller extraordinaire, died April 11, 2012. Two of the videos featured him and one was dedicated to him. Her daughter, Kristie, and her grandson are also in the row.

Talking photo technique

Cape photographer Tom Neumeyer stopped by to talk technique and share shooting war stories. Central High School Class of ’66 classmate Dick McLard reminded me that Thursday is the monthly brunch, but I have other commitments that day. Wife Lila would certainly be there if she was in town.

Carla’s introduction was so flattering that I wondered if  she had grabbed my eulogy by mistake. Warren Schmidt was equally kind at the end of the evening. Gerard Fiehler humped stuff out of my car and helped get the speakers working.

Sick cat excuse

Mother is an old hand at the museum, but this was Friend Shari’s mother’s first visit. LaFern Stiver admitted that she didn’t know how she was going to occupy herself in what she thought was going to be a tiny, small-town museum since I had to go a couple hours early to set up. She was pleasantly surprised to see what a great job Carla and her staff do in pulling together the exhibits.

If you’re in LaFern’s bridge club, don’t be surprised to find yourself being hauled up to Altenburg one of these days. (Shari couldn’t make it down from St. Louis. She said something about a sick cat. That sounds vaguely familiar. I think she may have used that same excuse when we were in high school.)

 

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