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Mayo recreates historic Christmas decoration

The star in the Plummer building is brought back to shine after being discovered during research for the Ken Burns documentary on the hospital.

Posted: Dec. 14, 2018 10:11 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - You can't miss the beautiful holiday star when you walk into Mayo's Plummer building in Rochester.

This is the first time the holiday decoration is up after being recreated this year. Anna Beth Morgan is the Executive Director of Libraries and Historical Units at all the Mayo campuses. She is also the one who decided to bring back the star after seeing it in a photo from 1949 while doing research for the Ken Burn's documentary about the hospital. 

"I looked at it and thought that needs to come to the Plummer building," she said. 

But it is the bigger, real-life picture that shines to Morgan. 

"One of the things that's fabulous is you come through this entrance, you see a beautiful star on the floor but this one is high above," she said. 

It was a collaborative effort to build the star with only one old photo to go off of. 

"We have so many talented people I knew we could do it," Tom Behrens, Head of Facilities Operations at Mayo Clinic, said. 

He said it started with using the photo to figure out the size, having contractors create an aluminum frame, and a florists' green thumb to fill it in. 

It took 108 feet of garland, 30 red balls, 30 packs of berries, and two long days to make the star shine bright. Once built, the 50 pound star was able to be hung on the original hook from the star in the 1940s. 

"I think it's really neat that we do this. I mean Mayo loves it's heritage and it looks amazing," Behrens said. 

"It was important to bring that star to life in this building. Where we don't currently have patients receiving care, but we have a lot of people who support that care," Morgan said. "Having staff on 8 floors of this building, it was important to provide that hospitality."

Story correction: Reporter said 'Matt behrens,' correct name is 'Tom behrens.'

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