When the Taneytown History Museum opens its doors for the 2018 season at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 15, it will feature “A Century of Toys 1890-1990.”
Members of the Taneytown Heritage and Museum Association, the sponsoring organization for the Taneytown museum, worked diligently in the offseason to bring the display to fruition.
“Quite a bit of research went into putting this together,” said Nancy Eyler, exhibit coordinator for the museum. “Not only did I have to do research to ‘date’ the toys that people loaned us, I also did a lot of reading and research to find and follow cultural trends and events that influenced the toys that were popular at various times during this 100-year span.”
The variety of toys are part of the collections of 31 members of the Taneytown community or former Taneytown residents.
“This exhibit was possible because so many people were willing to loan their ‘treasures’ to our museum,” Eyle said. “We are extremely grateful that so many people support the museum.”
Several glass showcases are jam-packed with toys from 1890 through 1990. Many of the toys are family heirlooms, and some come with an interesting story.
The exhibit includes several dolls (including one doll whose hair was “trimmed” by her owner), board games, Tinker Toys, and ever-popular items like Slinky and Mr. Potato Head. Several wind-up tin toys have been passed down through three generations of a family.
“Of particular interest [is] a baseball, signed by the boys who played with it in 1926,” Eyler said.
Sleds, lining one wall, cover a century of sledding styles, and are flanked by a Carrom game on one side, and paper dolls, a checkerboard, and an easel chalkboard on the other.
A showcase in the center of the room, is filled with some of the most recognizable characters. Included in this Disney collection are a Mickey View Master, Seven Dwarfs Set, Mickey Jack-in-the-box, Donald Duck Rail Car and a wind-up Disneyland Train.
Sandy Crouse, president of the Taneytown Heritage and History Museum Association, said, “This is a fun exhibit to see no matter what age you are! And it's nearly impossible to see all the toys in one visit — it will bring you back again and again.”
In addition to “A Century of Toys 1890-1990,” new exhibits include a large political button display, a turn-of-the-century Taneytown street light (recently donated and restored), and the “Collectors Corner,” currently showcasing a collection of Beatrice Potter Beswick and Royal Albert porcelain figurines. The hands-on-table includes wooden toys and reference books about the toys.
“I remember seeing and playing with some of these toys as a youngster with my parents and grandparents such as the board games and sleds,” Crouse said, reminiscing. She invites the community to “come by for a visit and lose yourself remembering when.”
The efficiency of the Taneytown museum is due to the many volunteers who donate their time and energy. Volunteers maintain the building as well as the grounds and landscaping. All the paperwork involved for the exhibits, newsletter and record-keeping is done by volunteers.
A team of volunteers worked tirelessly to make wooden toys including cars, tops, and alligators that are available for purchase in the museum’s gift shop. The gift shop also features a variety of items including paper dolls, mugs, coasters, handmade Amish dolls, artwork, books, museum ornaments and brooms.
Consider becoming a member of the museum. Membership forms can be found online at taneytownmuseum.files.wordpress.com.
The Taneytown History Museum is located at 340 East Baltimore St., Taneytown. The 2018 hours (beginning April 15) are every Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.