A Christmastime treat in Green Bay is again on display at the Neville Public Museum. Local 5’s Kris Schuller takes us now to Christmases past with “Holiday Memories of Downtown Green Bay.”
Inside the Neville Public Museum, Christmases of long ago come back to life through these ornate figurines, which for decades were displayed each Christmas in the old Prange’s department store downtown.
“We have dolls of Christmas past, we have woodland creatures and snow babies,” said Museum Director Beth Lemke.
The dolls were acquired by the museum in 2004.
“The pieces had to go through quite a bit of restoration to be on display,” Lemke said.
And now each Christmas they’re brought out of storage for this exhibit – “Holiday Memories of Downtown Green Bay.”
“It has become a staple during the holiday season for families to come and gather and share their time here at the Neville.”
With the dolls, window displays are recreated and an enchanted forest with a talking spruce tree comes to life. It is a world Prange’s developed to draw people to their store each Christmas in the 50s and 60s.
“To give families an opportunity to do something downtown. But ultimately also, in those window displays they were promoting products of the holiday season,” Lemke said.
The animatronic dolls are showing their age. Some are 50 years old and their inner mechanics are no longer used.
“We animate the scenes, just not with the original mechanics of each figurine.”
A decision made to preserve the collection so it can be displayed for decades to come, to take people back to Christmases of the past to relive holiday memories.
“It is a downtown Green Bay tradition that the Neville tries to keep alive each year,” said Lemke.
The exhibit is open until early January. You can find more information at this link.