Yesterday’s Toyland

October 9th, 2005 until January 15th, 2006

All Day

October 9, 2005 – January 15, 2006

A charming exhibit from days gone by, featuring vintage toys and dolls from the Victorian era through the 1940’s. Children can visit a hands-on Yesterday’s Playroom set up in the Society’s Little Gallery, where they are invited to play with reproductions of the toys on view in Yesterday’s Toyland and to dress up in colorful reproductions of the vintage children’s clothing on display.

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An array of dolls from the Victorian era through the 1940’s will be on display, including a diverse range of Kewpie dolls, created by Westporter Rose O’Neil in 1902.

Photos by Andrea Maritzer Fine

Yesterday’s Toyland showcases an array of bygone toys and games enjoyed by children (and their parents). It encompasses those toys popular during the Victorian era, continues into the 1920’s and 1930’s with factory-produced playthings such as trains and the tin wind-ups popular at that time, and ends circa 1950 when television sets found in every home changed family entertainment forever.

In the Society’s main lobby, a group of whimsical shadowboxes reflecting the visions of three Westport artists greet you. Karen Silver Bloom, Arthur Burke and Carol Young have created assemblages which set the theme for our pre-television era exhibit-and for your trip down memory lane.

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Allison’s Garden by Karen Silver Bloom
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The Wedding by Karen Silver Bloom
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It’s Showtime by Karen Silver Bloom
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Happy Moments by Arthur Burke

The exhibit’s co-curators, Ellen Naftalin and Elise Meyers, have visited collectors in the area and have selected toys of all types-dolls, trains, rocking horses, doll houses, toy soldiers, banks, wind-ups-plus ‘every-day’ playthings like jacks, marbles, wood spinning tops and games such as checkers, dominos and chess, to name just a few. Rose O’Neill, a prominent member of our town’s early art colony, and her 1902 brainchild-the Kewpie Doll-are featured in Yesterday’s Toyland. The popularity of her Kewpie was international-one of the greatest successes in the history of doll making.

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Rose O’Neill, creator of Kewpie dolls

A very special adjunct to the exhibit is the “hands-on” Yesterday’s Playroom, set up in the Society’s Little Gallery. Children are invited to play with reproductions of the toys on view in Yesterday’s Toyland and to dress up in the vintage children’s clothing on display.

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Exhibit Photo Gallery