Michigan State University Museum Curator of History Val Roy Berryman is making a list and checking it twice for three Santa-themed exhibits around the community this holiday season.
Berryman has been collecting Christmas-related artifacts for more than 25 years, including advertising and promotional items, illustrations, cards, packaging, figurines, decorations and
other Kris Kringle collectibles. Over the years, he has shared his personal collections -
showcasing Christmas traditions from around the world. The exhibits are slated to be installed after Thanksgiving and will run through January.
The Masks of Christmas -- MSU Museum:
For a holiday twist in advance of the MSU Museum's major exhibition entitled Mask: Secrets and Revelations opening February 2011, the Ground Floor Gallery will feature four different forms of Christmas masks from the U.S., Germany and Russia. Included are traditional Santa Claus masks made from paper mache, buckram, and plastic, mostly worn by father or uncle when playing Santa for the family; die-cut heavy papier masks given away as advertisements by various businesses for children to wear; Russian masks worn at holiday festivities with the Soviet-era version of Santa Claus, Grandfather Frost; and German and Austrian masks worn to portray St. Nicholas, who brings gifts and treats for good children, and his devilish traveling companion Krampus, who brings the threat of punishment for naughty children. Each of the four mask categories will also be augmented with life-size mannequins in masks and full costume.
Dioramas of Santa -- Knapp's Building, 300 S. Washington Square, Lansing: Installed in the main window of the Art-Deco Knapp's Building, this exhibit features an old world scene of St. Nicholas and Krampus visiting a 19th century German cottage contrasted with a scene of a modern American Santa Claus working at a tool bench creating toys with the help of his elves.
Christmas Cookies -- Williamston Depot Museum, 369 W. Grand River Avenue, Williamston: The exhibition includes antique tin cookie cutters, some real German traditional Christmas cookies, decorative British biscuit or cookie tins, German pressed-paper cookie plates, German and Dutch carved wooden molds for gingerbread cookies as well as signs, ads and boxes for early commercially made Christmas cookies. Mrs. Santa's elves will assist in the exhibition by demonstrating some of the steps in making Christmas cookies.