|This year, we are in the midst of the global
Coronavirus Pandemic, and hardly anything is the same as it was last year.
Those of us who treasure this special exhibit are both amazed and grateful
that the Museum has been able to function at all, and was bold enough to
continue with this annual tradition.
There were all kinds of special rules and guidelines in place for everyone's protection. First, only a maximum of eight people would be allowed to work on each tree. Appointment times were carefully scheduled, and each group was given exactly three hours to do everything necessary to make their tree come alive.
As can be seen in the photo of our group, everyone was required to wear a mask. Also, instead of working in the rotunda (just steps from the Grand Tree), each country's tree was placed in a distant corner, where we could decorate out of the way of patrons and other trees. This, of course, eliminated the wonderful personal contact with other groups that we had enjoyed in previous years. But considering all that was going on, and the additional strain the Museum staff was under, we were just glad to be able to be there at all, to decorate the USA Tree.
This year, our tree has many new ornaments, which are seen in the photos below. We have celebrated all fifty states with ornaments that are made into their individual shapes, and which show ideas which make each one famous. We also have made many new sequin balls, and they adorn the tree from top to bottom.
Returning from earlier years are the hand-made stars and snowflakes, as well as the crystal icicles, and some of the stockings. The Star-Boxes, which had been used the previous four seasons, have been temporarily retired. They will come back another time.
The photos of the finished tree do not have the eagle on top, and that is because rather than placing it first, the Museum staff put it there just before moving the tree to its final exhibit-space. Later photos show the tree with the eagle, having taken its place along with the other trees.
Whether you go to the exhibit in person or just enjoy it on the internet, we are all very glad that you chose to spend a few minutes with us, and hope that these trees remind you of why we are putting up with all of the turmoil in our world right now.
Merry Christmas to all, as was said by the Jolly Old Elf, and may 2021 bring a return to all that is bright and good in this world.
-- Bruce Duffie
First, two views of the tree as finished by the group.
The sequins on each ball were hand-attached, and are in several sizes.
Now, on to the states. Ironically, to accommodate the fifty items, there are thirteen pictures!