Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Toy Safari

When I was in fifth grade I did a project on Teddy Roosevelt. I remember this project with great fondness because I recreated the entire Roosevelt family in Playmobil form. As I recall, that was entirely unnecessary, but it was a lot of fun. I tied little nametags around their necks, and I remember looking sadly at Teddy's son Quentin and thinking, "Poor little Quentin, you're going to die in World War I and your father will never recover!" I was quite affected, for some reason, by the deaths of presidential children. I still get depressed when I think about Calvin Coolidge, Jr., who got a blister playing tennis with his brother, and died a week later from blood poisoning at the age of sixteen. Friends, always wear socks with sneakers. YOU COULD DIE OTHERWISE.

Anyway, the Museum of Play has this great Teddy Roosevelt action figure, for lack of a better term, which would have been really useful to me during that project.

Tiny Teddy Roosevelt

 Tiny Teddy Roosevelt's tiny lion and tiny hilarious hippo

The museum also has a collection of fantastic miniature animals, which also brings back childhood memories. I had a set of little plastic animals that I used to play with. They were the subject of my first epic story, which I'm pretty sure is lost to the ages, and thank goodness, because I think everyone had names like "Ella the Elephant," which is just humiliating. I am sure if I had had animals made with real fur, like these, I would have been inspired to give Ella a better name, and I'd probably be published by now. SIGH.

I don't know what this is. It looks like a cross between a hyena and a wild boar. 

Obviously the use of real fur in the creation of toys is inappropriate, BUT . . .
this camel is adorable and I want one. 

I'm not sure about these either. Wild boars? They don't have very piggy noses.
Bison crossed with bears? The lack of teeth an horns in this collection
makes the animals quite difficult to identify.

I believe these terrifying creatures are supposed to be slavering after human flesh,
but I think it looks more like they're surprised but DELIGHTED to see you!

I have all kinds of questions about what these animals are made of, and how, and why, and where they came from, but Margaret Woodbury Strong's collection is really just a "collection" and less of a "museum," in that they don't give much information about anything. I'd like to wander through with an antiques expert some time and see what it's really all about.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure 100 times more effort went into making those toys than is done for anything that passes as a toy these days. It also seems likely that there was much more imaginative "make-believe" involved. Although, the real fur made some of that make-believe unnecessary.

Enjoyed the photos. I have never yet been to the Strong museum, so these are my vicarious visits!

Matthew said...

Last caption made me LOL for realsies.

I'm surprised there *isn't* more helpful, descriptive text about stuff, but I haven't been in the museu--errr-collection part in years and years.

Brian Boldizsar said...

Hello. I have stumbled upon a camel which appears to be made by the same artist in the same time period out of the same material. You had mentioned you want one. Do you know much about the history of this collection?

Simon said...

Hi Brian, the collection is at the Strong Museum of Play, but that's all that I know about it. Unfortunately, there was nothing informative in the display.