Remember the playthings you had as a kid? That favorite toy you took with you everywhere, even to bed–like a teddy bear missing an eye and loved to tatters? I never had a teddy bear, but I did have a cute little red corduroy horse. I don’t recall his name.
Such simple things we appreciate much too late.
Until Feb. 27, you can find a glimmer of childhood past and wax nostalgic at Holland Museum’s “Toy Stories” exhibit, a fun-filled display with hundreds of toys dating back to the late 1800s. It’s the collection of Merrill Taylor and her late husband, Tom, who spent much of their adult lives collecting antique toys, games, decorations and advertisements.
You know what? The Taylors sound an awful lot like my Aunt Marina and Uncle Bob, who are now in their very late 80s. Maybe you have a family member like this, too. Aunt Marina and Uncle Bob collected everything—and I mean everything. Kewpie Dolls. Beanie Babies. Mickey Mouse figures and dolls. Vintage teddy bears. Glassware, magazines, lamps. My uncle had a penchant for Quaker Oat cereal boxes–his collection was stacked to the ceiling. He also had a collection of gem stones, cat whiskers… the list goes on. Wait. It was my aunt who collected the the cat whiskers.
One really cool feature of the Taylors’ toy collection is this: They will let you play with them. The exhibit also has an interactive “Toy Lab” that helps people learn about the mechanics and science of invention by building their own toys.
The collection has been featured in Country Living and other notable magazines. There is no apparent theme, just a chaotic and delightful mix of toys. The Taylors have never sold any of the toys from their collection.
“Toy Stories” will be on display through Feb. 27 at the Holland Museum, 13 W. Tenth St. in, of all places, Holland, Michigan. For more info, go here.