Christmas Forest opens Nov. 28 at Cookeville History Museum

COOKEVILLE – Buttons, old photos, tiny paintings, quilts, embroidered items and even children’s books are making their way into the Cookeville History Museum… on Christmas trees.

The fifth annual Christmas Forest exhibit, which features the creativity of several local non-profit clubs and civic organizations, may be viewed Nov. 28 to Jan. 2. Admission is free.

“Since we started this exhibit in 2016, we have absolutely loved filling the history museum with beautifully decorated trees,” said Beth Thompson, Cookeville museums manager. “This year is no different.”

So far, 14 groups are installing Christmas trees that not only showcase their decorating skills but raise awareness for their cause: Tennessee State Button Society, Cookeville Camera Club, Cookeville Art Studio and Gallery, Daughters of the American Revolution, Putnam County Fair Board, Tennessee Tech University Archives, Imagination Library, Philanthropic Educational Organization, Family Community Education Clubs, Embroiderers’ Guild of America Iris Chapter, Friends of White Plains, Cookeville Crazy Quilters, Friends of the Cookeville Depot and CityScape.

“It’s so beautiful and creative the way all of these groups put themselves into the trees they decorate,” Pam Philpot, exhibit specialist, said. “In past years, we have had trees decorated with sheet music, Lego bricks, milkweed and more. Last year we even had a tree ‘wearing’ a lasso and tiara. You really have to see some of these awesome, out-of-the-box creations to believe them.”

Attendees can expect to see a wide range of decorating styles.

“There will be trees that are more old-fashioned and homespun, some that incorporate natural elements, fun trees with tinsel and bright lights, and still others with all handmade ornaments that have taken hours to craft,” Thompson said. “The thing they all have in common is the warm, Christmassy feelings they evoke.”

In the interest of public health, no opening reception will take place this year.

The Christmas Forest exhibit may be viewed any time the museum is open, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 40 E. Broad St. 

Masks are required, and attendees are asked to stay six feet apart from other guests.

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