TIMELESS TEXAS TOYS
Vintage toys conjure memories, bring generations together
NOTE: Timeless Texas Toys has been exended from its original closing date. The exhibit will remain through Dec. 31, 2012.
SAN ANTONIO – From Nov. 19 to Dec. 31, Texas families will have an opportunity to connect in a special way – over toys remembered from childhood and passed through generations.
The "Timeless Texas Toys" exhibit at the Institute of Texan Cultures has been extended through the end of the year. The exhibit delves into the toy box of yesteryear, bringing back memories for older guests, while giving younger visitors the opportunity to learn the origins of their toys.
"Play is a universal experience," said Sarah Gould, ITC researcher and coordinator for the exhibit. "It’s a process of discovery. It’s how we begin to understand the world around us. This exhibit is an opportunity for children, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and loved ones to bond over memories of play and the treasures of childhood."
The exhibit gallery, designed like a toymaker’s workshop, will include workbenches, shelves and tables strewn with antique toys. Guests might find a child’s size turn-of-the-century baseball bat, conjuring memories of days with friends at the park. The china doll on another shelf may remind a grandmother of a special time in her life. For others, Davy Crockett’s coon-skin cap might recall adventures on the "Wild Frontier."
"These toys and their core concepts haven’t changed," said Gould. "Young ball players still have their magic bats. Many children have their favorite dolls, action figures or teddy bears. Through their toys they imagine worlds where they are firemen, doctors, and teachers."
As guests walk through the exhibit and reminisce over these classic toys, they will have an opportunity to share their favorite toy memories at a kiosk built from giant alphabet blocks.
"Many modern toys have their origins with these classics," said Gould. "For a younger generation, it’s a chance to see what grandparents might have played with and to come to a realization that, ‘Hey! I have something like that!’"
"Timeless Texas Toys" is an opportunity for younger generations to see these classic folk toys, some in large scale. The exhibit includes a giant-sized Jacob’s Ladder, climbing bear and an interactive wooden steam shovel. Also, the exhibit includes a make-and-take activity station, where guests can build their own folk toys during the course of the exhibit: spool cars, Chinese kites (during the Asian Festival), clothespin dolls, sock puppets and others.
"We have such strong memories of our toys because of the emotions attached to them," said Gould. "They take us to special places in our imaginations. When we grow up, toys have the power to take us back to special moments in time."
The Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership or UTSA identification. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit TexanCultures.com.