HYDE PARK — Christmas season has arrived at the Museum of Science and Industry.
The museum lit its 45-foot tree on Thursday as it opened its 72nd annual “Christmas Around the World” exhibit.
Beneath the British Spitfire and German Stuka fighter planes, the museum has arranged more than 50 12-foot trees decorated by organizations around the city to reflect their culture.
Museum spokeswoman Beth Boston said the tradition began in 1942 as a way to pay respect to the U.S.’s allies during World War II.
The tradition has since expanded to welcome countries that were once enemies and states that didn’t exist until relatively recently.
The Croatian tree lies just at the entrance of the main rotunda and is decked with horse cookies with brilliant red frosting hung from white ribbons. The Croatian Schools of Chicago will perform at the museum at 4:30 p.m Dec. 7, one of more than 50 holiday performances between now and Dec. 23.
Under the main tree are presents for Pluto, Mickey and Goofy, to correspond with the “Treasures of Walt Disney” exhibit currently at the museum.
The exhibit and performances are included in the cost of general admission.