Come play in a BIG world of BIG toys!
What was your favorite childhood toy? A jump rope, a board game, or Space Invaders? Or was it an Easy Bake Oven or a Slinky? You’re sure to find your favorite toys in TOYTOPIA. This exhibition is huge, both in terms of layout and contents. The museum’s expansive fifth floor galleries have become a magical land of big toys where you can play all day with the world’s largest Etch A Sketch, a life-size doll house, a human-scale Monopoly car, a retro arcade with games set to free play, and much more.
“Our goal was to capture the essence of childhood wonder; that dream of being in a world of toys,” explained Troy Carlson, owner of Stage Nine Entertainment Group who created the exhibition.
“It has rained nearly every day since I have been here and yet I like it,” Anaximander Tutton wrote to his family in South Dakota shortly after his arrival in Washington. His story and those of many others are part of Washington: My Home, the new exhibit in the Great Hall of Washington History. Through oral histories and artifacts, visitors can explore migration and immigration through the experiences of diverse individuals who, over time, have come to live in Washington.
Visitors first glimpse the Arrival Windows, illuminating images of people who call Washington home. Below the windows are artifacts and stories of dramatic journeys, arrival, and belonging. These accounts range from the 1840s with the first African American family to arrive in Washington Territory to 2015 when the first family of Syrian refugees settled in Seattle, with many others in between.
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As long as there have been children, there have been toys. However, what children have played with and how they play has changed over time. Discover how toys and play have evolved, and consider what you can deduce about a particular point in time by looking at playthings from that era. See a colorful variety of toys from the Historical Society's collections, learn about the rise of playgrounds, and find out how Washington has made its mark in toymaking history (the Slinky Dog was invented here, for one!).
The History Lab Learning Center engages visitors with interactive exhibits featuring historical concepts such as Time, Place, Viewpoint, Exploration, and Precedent. In the learning center, visitors of all ages are encouraged to use the Tools of the History Trade (artifacts, ephemera, books and periodicals, people, maps, and images) to think like detectives in search of evidence. The History Lab exhibit is on the fifth floor of the History Museum.
Don your conductor's cap and climb aboard the History Museum's own model railroad. Watch history being made as the Puget Sound Model Railroad Engineers club continues construction on the 1,800-square-foot permanent layout depicting the rail lines from Tacoma's Point Defiance Park to the Stampede Pass tunnel in the Cascades. Join us when we celebrate model trains with our annual Model Train Festival.