June 2 - September 25, Museum of History and Industry
Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s
On display at the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) from July 2 through September 25, 2016, Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, chronicles the rich contemporary cultural history of toys starting with the post-World War II era of the 1950s, to the carefree 1960s, and finishing with the endearing innovations of the 1970s.
“I am delighted that the Museum of History & Industry is the first museum on the West Coast to share this fascinating and influential period in the history of toys, and present this playful exhibit from the Minnesota History Center,” said Leonard Garfield, MOHAI’s Executive Director. “Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s exudes fun with its interactive playrooms filled with games and toy treasures.”
Toys are displayed in three era-specific living rooms as well as a garage. Each space serves as a time capsule containing some of the most memorable toys from each decade. Among the hundreds of items on display are Hot Wheels, Barbies, E-Z Bake Ovens, LEGOs, and other childhood artifacts. Further reinforcing the historical background, classic toy commercials air in each room, and a trivia game hosted (virtually) by the original Brady Bunch’s Maureen McCormick (a.k.a. Marcia Brady). Around every corner are interactive zones where visitors can immerse themselves in hands-on play.
At the core of the exhibit are reflections on the significance and silliness of childhood passions, taken from published sources and firsthand personal accounts. Learn about the inventor of the popular Cootie toy and where he took inspiration for his “bug”; hear from brothers who wished for Star Wars toys but because of the popularity of the movie got an “I.O.U.” instead; and read a memory from a woman raised in a predominantly white suburb whose parents bought her a Julia doll because it “offered at least a hint that the world is a diverse place.”
Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s was created by the Minnesota History Center and is accompanied by an illustrated book from the Minnesota Historical Society Press. Developed in conjunction with the exhibit, the book spotlights 45 memorable toys, placing them in historical context and presenting firsthand stories by adults who revered these toys as kids. The book is written by exhibit developer, Kate Roberts, and Minnesota Historical Society curator, Adam Scher. $24.95 paperback, 208 pages, 80 color, and black and white photos; $14.99 e-book.
Generous support for Toys of the 50s, 60s, and 70s is provided by Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Top Ten Toys, and the Hanauer Family. Media sponsors are The Seattle Times and Seattle Metropolitan Magazine. The promotional partner is Visit Seattle.
UPCOMING PROGRAMS AND EVENTS RELATED TO TOYS OF THE ‘50s ‘60s AND ‘70s EXHIBITION
(Details are subject to change, and additional programs and events may be added. Please check the website soon for updated details and information).
Academy of Play & Kids’ Club
Tuesdays, July–September 20, 6:30 – 8 pm
Academy of Play: $10 members / $12 general public
Academy of Play Kids’ Club: $8 members / $10 general public
It’s time to PLAY! Academy of Play is a chance for adults to investigate the history, science, and goodwill of toys, games, and play. No need to leave the kids at home: the simultaneous Academy of Play Kids’ Club is a chance for youth to build toys or games with Puget Sound’s most imaginative creators.
July 19: Academy of Play: The Importance of Play
Kids’ Club: Design a Craft Stick Treehouse
Aug 30: Academy of Play: 21st Century Toy Maker
Kids’ Club: Make a Light-Up Stuffed Toy
Sept 20: Academy of Play: Let Toys Be Toys
Kids’ Club: Build a MicroWorld
Toys Teen Night
Thursday, July 28, 5-8 pm
Included with museum admission, $5 with Teen Tix pass
MOHAI invites all Seattle area teens and TeenTix members to enter the vintage world of Toys from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. See origins of Barbie, GI Joe, Slinky, Mr. Potato Head, and stick around for a game night, craft activities, and more.
Maker Day: Toymaker’s Workshop
Saturday, July 30, 11 am – 2 pm
Included with museum admission
“Mr. Toymaker” Rick Hartman of School of Toy brings his popular, hands-on toymaker workshop to MOHAI’s July Maker Day! Use simple tools to construct an amazing wooden toy that brings out everyone’s inner scientist and inventor.
MOHAI Movie in the Park: Toy Story
Saturday, August 20, 6 – 9 pm
Watch this thrilling, playful adventure on the big screen during a special showing of Toy Story (1995, G). Arrive before the show for live music, hula hoops, games, and more!
Maker Day: Pinball Mechanics
Saturday, August 27, 11 am – 2 pm
Included with museum admission
Love the speed, interactive playfields, story arcs, and curious ways to get multiballs in this reactionary game? Wondering what makes these elaborate displays tick? Plunge into MOHAI’s August Maker Day to find out the mechanics behind pinball.
Toys Family Day
Saturday, September 10, 10 am – 5 pm
Say goodbye to Toys from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s in style during this fun, family-friendly day. Enjoy music, performances, craft activities, giant toys and games, and so much more!
Toys Member Closing Party
Friday, September 23, 6:30 – 9 pm
Celebrate the closing of Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s during this exclusive member event. Revel in this chance to be silly and share personal experiences while connecting with friends and fellow members during this last chance to see the exhibit.
Not a member? Join today and discover Seattle, connect with the region and its rich history, and explore future possibilities. Membership at MOHAI guarantees year-round, unlimited access to the most riveting stories from the area while preserving the artifacts and narratives that shaped Seattle. Details at MOHAI.org/membership