A Visit to the Hallmark Museum

By Airboy: Everything is somewhere.  Hallmark’s HQ is in Kansas City.  They have a free museum which includes samples of things from their history.

My wife and I went to the Hallmark Museum at the corporate campus in Kansas City late last month while I was there for a conference.

Norman Rockwell, Charles Schultz and Winston Churchill all designed cards for them.

In addition to cards, Hallmark does Christmas ornaments, pop-up books, and movies.  Hallmark Theater did quality dramas going back to the black and white era of network television.  Today they have the Hallmark Channel and are probably best known for their Christmas movies and other upbeat cozy movies.

Weirdly, the Wall Street Journal did an article a few years back that pointed out filmmakers who do Christmas movies also do monster and slasher movies.  If you think about it, both types of movies follow a set formula, are low-budget, and must be shot on tight schedules.

11 thoughts on “A Visit to the Hallmark Museum

  1. I happened upon a book of greeting cards from some time around 1960. It was like an annual of some kind, put out by Hallmark or American Greetings. I picked it up with some interest, but never bought it because it was dismal. It was like the punchline of every card was “SO LET’S GET DRUNK!” I kept looking for something vaguely amusing or entertaining, but it was a banquet of straw. I had a brief moment of hope with one that was a calendar, and had the premise that you should drink only on holidays, so of course every day was a holiday. They even failed to make this amusing. Time has mercifully eroded the details, but not a one of them stood out as clever or memorable. It was only slightly less funny than calling every single one “National Lint Day.”

    And, needless to say, there was no Crumb material in it, which I think proves that it had to be Hallmark after all.

    The MAD “Salute to the Greeting Card Manufacturer of the Year” was way more amusing, and even had a small dig that seemed to apply to another MAD artist, Paul Coker, Jr., whose style can still be seen in the character designs to Rankin-Bass animated (and puppeted) holiday specials.

  2. I am not embarrassed (well, not TOO embarrassed) to say that I have a bunch of Hallmark Christmas ornaments. Some of them are way too cute. 🙂

  3. @Darren —

    And a very worthy ornament it is, too!

    Mine are mostly some of the miniatures, which I would buy on sale after Christmas every year. I haven’t bought any in about 10 years, though — I should see what they’re selling these days!

  4. Interesting article about what sounds like an interesting museum, airboy.

    The family Christmas tree has a couple of Hallmark ornaments, including a 1978 Christmas bauble of the year, a lucite nativity scene and a cardinal bell my parents bought forty years ago (not the oldest ornaments on that tree – some are more than 50 years old), a Tasmanian Devil (from the Looney Tunes cartoons) ornament I bought and dearly love and a bell ornament my aunt and uncle gave me after a trip to the US.

    Coincidentally, Hallmark Christmas tree ornaments are the one thing almost every German person who travels to the US brings back. I will never understand why Hallmark doesn’t sell them over here (they do sell cards), since the market is obviously there.

  5. @Cora —

    Coincidentally, Hallmark Christmas tree ornaments are the one thing almost every German person who travels to the US brings back.

    Huh. That is not something I would’ve guessed!

  6. John Hertz responds by carrier pigeon:

    So far no one has yet pointed out that the author of Peanuts was (or “is”, in the literary present tense) named SCHULZ.

    The connection of Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) and Hallmark greeting cards is a fine story and worth looking for. He was quite a good painter. J.C. Hall (1891-1982), the founder of Hallmark, is also worth study.

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