A Very Brady Holiday

A Storybook Christmas Featuring a Very Brady Holiday

Celebrate the holidays immersed in favorite childhood storybooks, iconic toys, and memorable costumes from one of America’s most-loved TV and movie families.

The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio will present “A Storybook Christmas Featuring a Very Brady Holiday,” an exhibition that is sure to evoke memories from treasured Christmases past. The exhibit runs through December 31, 2022.

As part of the exhibition that marks the opening of the holiday season, the festively-decorated Reese-Peters House parlors will include a combination of classic Christmas storybooks dating back to 1850, vintage toys similar to those shown in the Brady Bunch series, and costumes and props featured in the TV show and movies.

“This unique display across five rooms on the main floor blends pieces from different exhibits and creates a powerful vision under one theme,” co-curator Dr. George Johnson said. “It’s the first time we have organized an exhibition this way at the Decorative Arts Center.”

As part of the dynamic display, Johnson says visitors will enjoy stepping into the pages of classic Christmas storybooks that include “The Night Before Christmas,” “Polar Express,” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“We’ll have a larger collection of pop-up books on display, as well as Christmas favorites like ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,’” Johnson said. “We also have a variety of Golden Books and some religious pieces from the late 1800s into the 20th Century.”

While some of the books will be arranged with pages open so that visitors can read excerpts from their favorite Christmas stories, others will be positioned under Christmas trees as gifts, replicating what Christmas morning may have looked like for the Bradys and other families in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Joining the storybooks are vintage toys that the Bradys would have unwrapped that morning and costumes the characters wore in the TV shows and multiple movies.

Co-curator Randall Thropp manages the Paramount Pictures Costume Archive and is bringing several costumes and props from the Brady Bunch sets. The collection includes a two-piece pantsuit that Florence Henderson wore in the episode where the Brady family takes a trip to the Grand Canyon and a horse sculpture that appeared at the base of the staircase in the Brady home.

“The show was only on for five seasons, yet it’s become a part of Americana,” Thropp said.

Both Johnson and Thropp will host highly-anticipated Curator Talks in which they will share stories about many of the pieces featured in the exhibition.

Thropp’s Curator Talk will take place at 1 and 3 p.m. December 18 and will include an informal lecture on the costumes displayed in the exhibition that were worn by Brady Bunch actors and actresses.

Each talk costs $10 for non-members and $5 for members in advance, and $15 at the door if space is available. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to decartsohio.org.