New Exhibit Features Gumby, Barbie, Slinky and More!

For immediate release

Release dated: 
February 24, 2014
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148,
Amy Danielson, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3020,

New Exhibit Features Gumby, Barbie, Slinky and More!

'Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s' Opens May 24, 2014 at the Minnesota History Center

"Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s" is a nationally traveling exhibit developed by the Minnesota History Center that captures the craziness, joy and sheer fun of being a kid. "Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s" will be on view at the Minnesota History Center May 24, 2014 to Jan. 4, 2015.

"The toys we play with are very much the products of their times," said Kate Roberts, exhibit developer. "By pulling together toys as diverse as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Spirographs and Pet Rocks, we hope to spark memories for visitors, but also to get them talking about how toys reflect the rhythms of American life."

At the core of the exhibit are reflections on the significance and silliness of childhood passions, taken from published sources and firsthand personal accounts. Learn about the Minnesota man who invented Cootie and where he took inspiration for his "bug"; hear from brothers who wished for Star Wars toys but because of the popularity of the movie got an "I.O.U." instead; and read a memory from a woman raised in a predominantly white suburb whose parents bought her a Julia doll because it "offered at least a hint that the world is a diverse place."

Visitors can explore hundreds of toys along with multimedia presentations and a trivia game hosted by The Brady Bunch’s Maureen McCormick. Around every corner, visitors can find a play zone where they can immerse themselves in hands-on play.

Related programs
Visitors will enjoy a variety of special programs including a toy-based craft activity offered free with admission during opening weekend, May 24-26, and daily through the summer. In the fall, a new Craft and Cocktails workshop series will be offered for young adults. And throughout the year lectures and family days will offer unique toy-related content.

New Book - "Toys of the '50s, '60s, and '70s" from the Minnesota Historical Society Press
Developed in conjunction with the exhibit, "Toys of the '50s, '60s, and '70s" spotlights 45 memorable toys, placing them in historical context and presenting firsthand stories by adults who revered these toys as kids. The book is written by exhibit developer Kate Roberts and MNHS curator Adam Scher. "Toys of the '50s, '60s, and '70s" will be available May 2014. $24.95 paperback, 208 pages, 80 color and b&w photos; $14.99 e-book.

Exhibit and Program Support
"Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s" is made possible in part by the Legacy Amendment through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008. Additional support is provided by Star Tribune.

Location, Hours and Admission
The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Exhibit gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays (admission is free on Tuesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission to "Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s" is included with regular History Center admission of $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and college students, $6 for children ages 6 to 17; free for children age 5 and under and MNHS members. Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 651-259-3000 or 1-800-657-3773.

About the Minnesota History Center
The Minnesota History Center holds the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. The History Center is home to an innovative museum, engaging public programs, a research library, distinctive gift shops and an award-winning restaurant.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota's past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.

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