With 300 feet of ribbon, 1,250 flower heads, 165 feet of feathered fringe, 50 drink cups, 100 fry containers and 80 bracelets and keychains, the Whataburger-style mum joined the Arlington Museum of Art’s newest exhibit.
On Thursday, the 6-by-18 Whatamum towered over the 94 other mums displayed at the “Mumentous: The Upsizing of a Texas Tradition.”
The Whatamum will stay on display until Oct 19. However, the exhibit will stay until Nov. 24.
Whataburger thought they would join the fun and commission a Texas-size mum for the exhibit, said Elizabeth Higgins, Whataburger community experience supervisor. Whataburger and Texas football go hand in hand, and the company couldn’t think of a better way to contribute.
They reached out to local float company Lone Star Parade Floats to see if they were up to the task of assembling the handmade and glittered mum, Higgins said.
“When we knew we wanted to go big,” she said. “We called somebody who works in big.”
According to the Whataburger website, the project took about 120 hours to build.
The mum is made up of Whataburger originals, Higgins said. Originals include cups, apple pie containers and anything else available at the restaurant.
Artist Amy J. Schultz said she spent years writing, taking photos and getting excited about mums. She came to the museum with the idea of having a mum exhibit to highlight the Texas tradition.
Schultz reached out on social media to ask people to borrow their mums for a couple of months and in return, she received a plethora of mums that now hang on a chain-link fence inside the museum.
“I knew it had to be on a chain-link fence because that’s such an old school Texas image,” she said.
Communication administrative assistant Paula Branen came to the exhibit to see the evolution of mums.
“The Whataburger mum, that’s a feat of nature,” Branen said. “That’s Texas in all its glory — Whataburger and something that’s that big.”
The only thing kinesiology senior Meghan Kelley could compare the mum to is the State Fair of Texas figure, Big Tex.
“He’s the other biggest thing in Texas,” Kelley said.
Branen has her own mum-making business and said they keep getting bigger and crazier each year.
“Now, anything goes,” she said. “Size, color, it’s really changed.”