Museum holiday exhibit features a Swinging ’60s Christmas

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This holiday season, visitors to the Monroe County Local History Room and Museum will feel as though they have traveled back in time while viewing the History Room’s special Christmas exhibit, “A Swinging ’60s Christmas.”

The retro holiday display depicts what Christmas morning might have looked like during the 1960s, right down to the classic toys under the aluminum tree, which sparkles above a color wheel.

The exhibit features dozens of the most popular playthings of the 1960s, which are sure to drum up some feelings of nostalgia for many visitors.

“We hope people will point out something and say, ‘Oh my goodness! I had that!’” said Director Jarrod Roll “That’s what we love.”

Childhood flashbacks will emerge as visitors page through Christmas catalogs from six decades ago. Visitors young and old will get to experience and re-experience 60-year-old commercials and Christmas special promos on a 1967 RCA color television.

“All of the good Christmas shows came out in the 60s and they’ve been on every year since then,” Roll said regarding “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” 

This is not the first time History Room staff have transported to decades past. Four years ago, the museum depicted a 1950s Christmas and the 1970s seven years ago. 

“When we depicted the ’70s in 2014, that was the first time we had ever done anything special during the holidays and we didn’t know how it would go over,” Roll said. “People love these decade rooms.”

Each decade room is similar in that it features a living room set, a fireplace, a Christmas tree and of course toys, which are always a highlight for visitors. 

Roll and Museum Services Associate Hannah Scholze began their research with as many interior photos from the decade as they could, starting with Monroe County and out from there, looking at how people were decorating their homes back then. 

“We looked at photographs and catalogs advertising paint or flooring and we compiled all of that together to determine what we could pull off,” Roll said. “We knew this was something we could do and we’re so pleased with how it turned out.”

There will be a special opening reception of the new exhibit tonight (Monday) from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The Christmas display runs from Nov. 23 through Jan. 8.

Admission to the History Room, which is located at 200 W. Main St. in Sparta, is free. Regular museum hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information, call (608) 269-8680 or visit Facebook.com/MCLHR.

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