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Photo Gallery | Toy Exhibit To Be Held At Wisconsin Historical Museum

What was your favorite toy? Do you still have it? Is it stored in a dusty box in the attic, or did you hand it down for other children to enjoy? Has it passed the test of time like Barbie, Legos and the Hula Hoop, or has it faded into a memory like Chatty Cathy?

Whether it’s a doll, car, puzzle or game, all toys share one thing -- everyone fondly remembers playing with one. The Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison wants to share the stories toys have to tell with the exhibit ‘tis the Season: Toy Stories open now through Jan. 15. ‘Tis the Season: Toy Stories spotlights classic, top-selling and Wisconsin based toys from the late 20th-century to the present.

If your toys could speak, what would they say? ‘tis the Season: Toy Stories begins to answer this question. Some tell the stories of their origin in Wisconsin; American Girl dolls, Duncan yo-yos, and Shrinky Dinks all got their start in the state. Others, like top-selling Mr. Potato Head tell of rejection and controversial beginnings following food rations of World War Two. And many toys stir memories of favorite TV shows and movies, from Star Wars to Snow White.

While most of the toys are from the Museum's existing collection, Leslie Bellais, the exhibit's curator, is excited about the new additions to the collection, and how the toys spark so many different stories, in kids of all ages. She says, "Parents can share this show with their kids and grandparents can share it with their grandkids." While wandering among the displays, you will surely find yourself thinking again and again, "I remember that!"

For young children (and those young at heart) the most fun part of this exhibit may be its play area, where visitors are encouraged to play with modern versions of classic toys.  Some may argue about the virtues of their toys in comparison to the toys of subsequent or previous generations. Others may debate whether G.I. Joe is a doll or action figure, or simply play with "that spring, that spring, that marvelous thing that everyone knows as Slinky".

The Wisconsin Historical Museum is located at 30 N. Carroll St. on Madison's Capitol Square and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Special Holiday Hours: open 7 days a week, Nov 29-Dec 23, 11am to 4 pm. Admission is by donation: $4 per adult, $3 per child or $10 per family. Call (608) 264-6555 for more information, or visit us online at www.WisconsinHistoricalMuseum.org.

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