William L. Bird's Holidays on Display
captures the history of an art and industry, with many rarely seen photographs of yesteryear. -- The Morning News, December 17, 2007
"Such sights, of course, are still visible in certain major cities, but the heyday of elaborate store decorations and seasonal parades is clearly behind us, so much so that a review of the best of the tradition is now something you'd find in a museum. Which may be one reason the National Museum of American History created `Holidays on Display,' an exhibition that opened Friday. Composed mainly of photographs and illustrations, the show looks at the art and business behind such seasonal spectacles as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Miss America Pageant boardwalk parade, even the Washington Monument Centennial Celebration in 1948." --The Washington Post
"The holidays are a time of excess, from decorations and food to parades and retail displays. We splurge on gifts, we make rich feasts for friends and family; we gather close to the people we love, seeking comfort in midwinter. The Smithsonian invited Santa & Mrs. Clause and Twinkle the Elf to the National Museum of American History to open a new small exhibit on the Holidays. Focused on Parades of all seasons, from Tournament of Roses through to Macy's Thanksgiving, and the retail window displays of department stores (something of a relic to those of us under 40) all across the US, the new exhibit has photos and artifacts from holiday celebrations across the country." --We Love DC
"Santa Claus is making an early appearance to open a new exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History on the art and business of commercial holiday displays.
The exhibit is a first for the museum and opens Friday. It covers the elaborate department store windows and retail displays dating back to the 1920s, as well as the creation of floats for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
During its heyday in the 1950s, the Woodward and Lothrop department store in D.C. was known to have featured live penguins in a window display.
The exhibit follows the research of curator William Bird who examined the history of holiday displays from the early 20th century in a companion book." --MyFOXDC
"Holidays on Display provides a vivid set of color photos capturing department store festive window displays and reviews the overall art of the holiday display. The author traces this display's changes from basic holiday decorations to works of art, floats, and more, offering a fine history of rare photos and ephemera in the process. Any library strong in holiday art needs this." --The Midwest Book Review
About the Author
William L. Bird, Jr., is a historian and curator at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. He is author of Paint By Number and co-author of Design for Victory: World War II Posters on the American Home Front.