Category Archives: On Exhibit

Toy Story: 20th Century Toys

Toy Story


A new exhibit on the history and cultural influences of toys will open in the museum’s upstairs exhibit gallery on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Toys are important parts of our past and can be an enjoyable means of training young children for life in society. The act of children’s play with toys embodies the values set forth by the adults of their community seen through a child’s perspective. Within cultural societies, toys are a medium to enhance a child’s cognitive, social, and linguistic learning.
Children at playPlaying with toys can also help a child grow up and learn about the world around them. Younger children use toys to discover their identity, help their bodies grow strong, learn cause and effect, explore relationships, and practice skills they will need as adults. In some cultures, societies utilize toys as a way to enhance a child’s skill set within the traditional boundaries of their future roles in the community. In Saharan and North African cultures, play is used to develop skills like hunting and herding, for example. Value is placed on preparing a child for their future and allows the child to create a personal interpretation of the adult world.

Children jumping ropeChildren play with whatever they can find, such as sticks and rocks, but the golden age of toy development was at the turn of the 20th century. Wages were rising steadily in the Western world, allowing even working-class families to afford toys for their children. Industrial techniques of precision engineering and mass production made it possible to meet this rising demand. Intellectual emphasis was also increasingly being placed on the importance of a wholesome and happy childhood for the future development of children.

Child on toy phoneToy Story will explore these cultural influences and display some of the most popular 20th century toys, including Tonka Trucks, Hoola Hoops, Doll Houses, Yo Yos and Slinkies. Please join us for a trip back to childhood.

Child on pony

Japanese Glass Fishing Floats

Japanese Glass Fishing FloatsDonated from the spectacular collection of Jim Watson and Nick Simpson, are a special feature of this gallery. This display includes many unusual examples produced in Japan for the fishing industry that have made their way to the Oregon Coast at the whim of wave and wind.


Pixieland, Early Tourism, and the Twenty Miracle Miles



The upstairs gallery focuses on tourism, celebrating the age of the automobile with information on the first cars and roads to the area. The gallery’s timeline begins with the completion of the Salmon River and Coast Highways in the late 1920s and extends through 1965 when many of the small towns incorporated as Lincoln City. The history of each town along what was known as the Twenty Miracle Miles is included in a panel display, along with roadside attractions, early tourism promotions like the notorious “Redhead Roundup”, and one-of- a-kind businesses like the Pixie Kitchen and Pixieland.

The Mildred and Maries Children’s Corner is all “hand-on”, with puppets, books and games to keep younger children entertained while their parents tour the museum.