Moscow Planetarium opens an exhibition of rare Christmas tree ornaments and cards

December 19, 2019

On the occasion of the New Year holidays, the Moscow Planetarium has prepared an exhibition of rare Christmas tree ornaments and space-themed vintage cards. The display features 45 ornaments and 45 cards, gift boxes and other Christmas exhibits of the 1950s and 1960s, the period when the USSR and the whole world were actively exploring space. Glass figures of cosmonauts were the most popular Christmas tree decorations of those years. This is when Christmas cards started to feature spaceships, the Solar system planets, stars and comets.

Each series of Christmas tree decorations and greeting cards was a reflection of significant events in the history of Russia and space exploration. For example, postcards of the late 1950s showed the world's first artificial earth satellite launched in the USSR on 4 October 1957. The same year, a life-size satellite model was made specially for the Moscow Planetarium. You will find it in the first hall of the Urania Museum. Other popular subjects of Christmas cards of the late 1950s and early 1960s was the image of Father Frost flying on a rocket, and moonwalkers.

Besides, guests will see rare gift boxes made for the Kremlin Christmas Tree. They have a space design, too. You will see a box with realistic images of renowned cosmonaut dogs Belka and Strelka.

A separate large section of the exhibition is dedicated to Christmas tree decorations. After the launch of Sputnik-1 in 1957 and Yuri Gagarin's flight to the Earth's orbit in 1961, factories producing Christmas tree toys began manufacturing glass rockets, satellites and figures of cosmonauts in spacesuits. Visitors will see these rare Christmas decorations, as well as a variety of garlands and firecrackers, very popular at the time.

Also, the display features cardboard Christmas ornaments many of us know very well since childhood. Glued together in workshops, they featured two cardboard pieces with a convex pattern covered with silver or coloured foil and painted with sprayed powder paints. There will also be Father Frosts made of papier-mâché and cotton wool popular in many families. These figures were called stand ones, for they were fixed on a wooden stand and put under the Christmas tree.

Drawings by graphic artist Oleg Estis decorate the exhibit stands. These are illustrations for the book 'The Fabulous Adventures of a Little Astronomer' by Yefrem Levitan. For several decades, the writer's work has been closely associated with the Moscow Planetarium, where he started as a guide to become one of the leading lecturers and guidance counsellors and a member of the Scientific Council of the Planetarium. Read abstracts from this book on the exhibition stands to learn about the mysteries of the Universe.

Visit the exhibition of rare Christmas tree ornaments and vintage cards in the Moscow Planetarium 10:00 am till 09:00 pm. You will find the display in the hall of the Urania Museum. The display is included in the Grand Star Hall ticket.

Moreover, the Planetarium invites to watch a new festive performance 'Christmas Toy Story'. This play is about toys hurrying to the festive party, but lost on their way. It will run 18 to 30 December.

The building of the Moscow Planetarium designed by architects Mikhail Barshch and Mikhail Sinyavsky is a monument of the constructivist era. The authors were proud of its giant 25 wide dome. Today, there is a cutting-edge starry sky projector mounted under it. Thanks to this unique appliance, visitors admire planets, stars and constellations. Besides, the Planetarium runs popular science films.

Daily, the Planetarium is attended by some 3,000 guests, with about a million visitors per year.


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