Want a trip down memory lane, back to when we were kids and played with our favorite toys? Meet me in Kansas City, near the corner of 52nd and Oak. At the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. Easy Bake Oven will be there. GI Joe and Barbie, too.
The museum, located on the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, takes visitors down a path to their childhood, when playing was all we had to worry about. The museum has an amazing collection of toys…and miniature models.
Before you check out the toy section, you’ve got to take a stroll through the first floor exhibit of miniature models, ranging from a tiny piano or violin to a living room set. Want to know something super impressive? The miniature musical instruments actually work. Lamps light up. The model makers are dedicated to their passion, and create actual working pieces of art.
The miniature exhibit is divided into sections – music, furniture, houses and artwork, among the items.
In looking at the music section, can you imagine a piano smaller than the palm of your hand is capable of making real music?
Art, including portraits a little larger than a fingernail looks like an actual painting you could see hanging on a wall in an art gallery. Vases that resemble their larger brethren. Just truly amazing work done by these artists.
Dollhouses are located throughout the exhibit, home to beautiful displays of rooms.
The museum displays several model room sets. As you look closely at them, you’d swear they are full size and you’re visiting a dream house.
As you move from the miniatures to the toy section, you start the trip back to your childhood. What was your favorite toy? A couple of my favorite toys are on display.
[bctt tweet=”Become a kid again at @toyminiaturemuseum in @VisitKC! This museum was fun and brought back memories. “]
I loved Rock ‘em Sock ‘em robots. I received the toy one Christmas. However, it was a bit hairy that holiday. My folks had hid the toy under their bed. One day, my cousin and I found it and played with it. We did our best to put it back in the right spot. But, fifth graders are not always that bright. My folks realized what we had done, and they had their own Christmas present for me. As we gathered around the tree to open gifts Christmas Eve, I had a small box under the tree. It was a Matchbox car…one of my own.
As I went to bed mad and sad, I had no idea what waited for me Christmas morning. As I came down the stairs, I saw it – the boxing ring with the blue and red robot boxers. Whew! I would say lesson learned, but…I realized as an adult I passed that trait of snooping for gifts on to one of my daughters. She was a master Christmas gift sleuth as a child.
I was a collector of GI Joes. I had several of them, including accessories. Well, I saw one of my old Joe buddies at the museum. Hello, old friend, hello.
Speaking of my youngest, she was a huge “Ghostbusters” fan a youngster. We taped (yes, back when we had VCRs) the cartoon series. She collected the toys. She had some the small action figures and the car. Our favorite, err, her favorite, was the proton back pack with the ghost trap. The museum has that, too.
The museum takes a look at the history of toys, highlighting them from 1950 through today. The museum mentions that the toy market exploded during the 1960s, as toys expanded and parents had more money to spend on their kids. Toys such as Etch-a-Sketch, Lite Brite, Easy Bake Oven and GI Joe grew in popularity.
The Force is strong at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. Star Wars has its own section, featuring several action figures and props.
A couple of Omaha connections are displayed. The first highlights the love affair a child had with being a sheriff.
The second features the marble championships that used to be hosted at Boys Town.
The museum offers visitors an opportunity to take in a couple of special exhibits. The first features the history of African Americans as told through paper dolls. The exhibit – which prohibits photographs – showcases the disrespectful manner in which a group of people were depicted. In the end, you can see the progress made in the treatment of African Americans in paper dolls. There is one of President Obama, as well as other prominent African Americans.
Another Omaha connection is represented in the Pedal to the Metal exhibit of pedal-powered vehicles. A car sits in front of a photograph of a street race in downtown Omaha, featuring pedal vehicles. The exhibit “Pedal to the Metal – Pedal Cars and American Car Culture” follows the history of pedal cars, from the days of the metal cars to the plastic vehicles, including the Big Wheel.
The museum has more than 70,000 items on display in its 7,000-sq. foot building. It’s easy to spend several hours in the museum. We spent about two hours exploring the toys and miniatures. Want to know another cool thing about the museum? Admission is $5 per person. I think they could easily get away with a $10 admission fee.
We loved the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures. It’s a must-see for anyone visiting Kansas City. It ranks as one of our favorite museums we’ve visited. We highly recommend visiting it.
For more information on the museum, please visit www.toyandminiaturemuseum.org.