‘Toys!’ Exhibit to Highlight Form, Function – Not Just Fun ‘n’ Games

Toys have been around as long as civilization – maybe longer. Sticks and stones, whistles and dolls can be traced back 4,000 years and more.

A new, interactive exhibit opens next month at the Sharlot Hall Museum that will go beyond the fun and fantasy associated with toys.

“Toys are more than just items for fun and games,” explains Kylin Cummings, the museum’s curator of collections and developer of this interactive exhibit.

“For thousands of years, toys have been an essential development tool for young people, enlightening on cultural norms and nurturing their social skills, while molding the child’s mind and dexterity,” says Cummings.

Beginning in the second half of the 18th century, childhood was increasingly seen as an important time of preparing for life. The variety and number of toys expanded exponentially to support childhood as a distinct stage of life to be cherished.

The new exhibit showcases a cornucopia of toy genre, from dolls to board games, and wagons and sleds to puzzles and tinkertoys. Spanning two centuries, these are the “building bricks” of child development.

Illustrating gender distinctions, the exhibit features Raggedy Ann and Andy, Barbie and G.I. Joe, miniature toy soldiers or intricate doll houses.

The exhibit will include items of historic significance, if only to make one exclaim, “I remember playing with one of those!”

“Toys! It’s Not All Fun & Games!” will open March 20, at the Sharlot Hall Museum inside the Lawler Exhibit Center Gallery. The Museum is located at 415 West Gurley Street in downtown Prescott, two blocks west of the Courthouse Plaza.

The Museum continues to observe safety precautions associated with the pandemic, including the wearing of facial masks, social distancing, and limits to the number of visitors in each of the buildings.

For additional information, check out the Museum’s website: www.sharlothallmuseum.org or call (928) 445-3122.