Museum displays scores of unique Christmas trees in Altenburg, MO

14th annual Christmas Tree exhibit opens

ALTENBURG, MO (KFVS) - The Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum in Altenburg, Mo. has kicked off their 14th Annual Christmas Tree Exhibit which features around 80 Christmas trees.

The trees are of many different types and each have a unique story to them.

“There are many, many beautiful Christmas exhibits but it’s unusual to have an exhibit so indigenous to where it is,” Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum Director Carla Jordan said. “To have the stories that lead back to the mission of the immigration stories and the relationship stories and the relationship stories of this team. It is such an honor and a privilege to lead this team of volunteers. They all take a role in making this special exhibit, that is free of charge that is open every day, as a love gift to the public.”

While staff there have decorated some, others have contributed to dressing their own up for display there.

One tree called the “Historic Almanac-Gardening Tree” is a tree that has a lot of donated items from Ken Craft. The items are part of a large collection of early to mid-1800′s Almanacs from the Deutsche Pennsylvania area and other regions of early America.

"These almanacs, 200 year old almanacs from the 1800's were donated to the museum," Sally Buerck explained. "Being that this is a big farming community and a lot of people garden here, we felt it was very special and needed to be honored on a tree this year."

On this particular tree you will find gardening tools and flowers along with the old almanacs. Buerck said this tree, along all of them on display, is what makes each one so unique in it's own way.

"That's what the unique thing is about this museum. There is something to learn in every nook and cranny," Buerck said. "And this tree of course shows lots of it because it is such an area known for people to garden, can and farm. So this is very, very special."

Another tree called the "Pioneer America Tree" was designed by Dorothy Weinhold. The ornaments on the tree are items found in nature in the Perry County area that ancestors used in the early 1800's for their Christmas Tree decorations.

"It's a cedar tree from out of the woods with natural ornaments that you can go out and find right now in the county," Weinhold said. "It's very interesting to see all the different trees in here."

Another tree worth mentioning is the “Scherenschnitte Tree” and the cases of displayed items that surround the tree. Kathy Schlimpert designed the tree with ornaments with handcrafted pieces of art that were cut from a sheet of paper. The artwork originated in China and was popular in Germany.

"This tree is just so much fun because of the beautiful artwork that comes with it," Carla Grebing said. "It's very delicate and time consuming. It's a beautiful form of art."

Grebing favors this particular tree because she was close to the creator and understands the history and how to create the art herself.

“This tree means a lot to me because Kathy is a friend of mine and I’ve had the pleasure of taking her class,” Grebing stated. “She is very generous in teaching this art-form. When you look at each piece and that there is a story with each piece.”

The museum also includes other Christmas displayed items such as a Bavarian village provided by Nelda Kridel who has been collecting the items for nearly two decades.

"I mentioned that I had it and they said let's bring it in," Kridel said. "I started with a church and then added more to it on each side."

There are many more trees with stories to tell which many dive in to the past of Perry County’s history.

The Lutheran Heritage Center & Museum will have the Christmas Trees on display through January 15, 2019. For more information, visit https://lutheranmuseum.com/ or find them on Facebook here.

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