Festival of Tiny Trees Returns to Dollhouse Museum
The annual Festival of Tiny Trees is back again at The Dollhouse and Toy Museum of Vermont, with more than 150 dollhouse-size Christmas trees ranging in size from an inch to a foot either placed in the dollhouses or exhibited on their own. In addition to having more trees than ever, this year’s exhibit features trees created by local artists, including Beverly Petrellis, Theodora Petrellis and Helen Greene, all of whom taught art in local schools. Some of these artists’ trees are more modern and unconventional than traditional trees. Additional artists are working on yet more miniature trees to be added to the collection. The holiday display also features large and ornate nutcrackers, many of them made in Germany in the form of 18th century soldiers, kings and Saint Nicholas, and also a collection of vintage Christmas cards, many of them exchanged by Vermonters a century ago. Although both Christmas cards and trees now are very common, that wasn’t always the case. Christmas cards began in Britain in 1843 and Christmas trees – which long had been common in Germany – didn’t become widely popular in Britain or the United States until the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, who was from Germany, installed one in Windsor Castle. Vermont’s Calvin Coolidge was the first president to send out White House Christmas cards and to have a large National Christmas Tree erected on the White House grounds. The 43-foot-tall tree was donated by Middlebury College, decorated with 2,300 red, white and green bulbs and lighted on December 24, 1923. The Coolidges began sending out a handful of cards from the White House in 1927 to relatives and friends. Every president followed suit, and by the time Eisenhower was president the number had grown to about 1,300. More recently, President George W. Bush sent out 875,000.
The Dollhouse Museum at the corner of Union and Valentine Streets in Bennington has a large assortment of fully furnished dollhouses, including Victorian, Cape Cod, English Tudor and more. The permanent collection includes more than 300 dolls, as well as puppets, toy trains and planes and other vintage toys for boys. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m. daily between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is $2 for children, $4 for adults and $10 for families. Call 802-681-3767 for further information.