December 22, 2009
Toy exhibition at CW Art Museums captures imaginations during the holidays
“A Child’s-Eye View,” an exhibition at Colonial Williamsburg Art Museums, features toys from the decorative arts and folk art collections now on view through Feb. 15.
The exhibition explores how children re-create the adult world from their own perspective through play and toys. Dollhouses, toy trains and other playthings bring back fond memories of childhood. Exhibit designers kept their young guests in mind when creating this display. Objects have been installed at the viewing height of a 10-year-old child.
Two treasured dollhouses -- the Long Island and Rumford Dollhouses -- are featured. Found in Long Island, N.Y., the Long Island Dollhouse was built around 1900 and measures more than 12 feet in length. Its furnishings consist of pieces from the 19th and 20th centuries. The Rumford Dollhouse features four rooms and was made in the early part of the 19th century for twin sisters living in Philadelphia. All of the furnishings are original to the house.
Dolls have been popular toys for girls through the centuries. In this exhibition, Gretchen was a cherished member of the Clymer-Rumford family. She was made in Philadelphia by the Greiner firm in the last quarter of the 19th century. Another special doll, made around 1790, came with an extensive wardrobe, including everything from shift and stays to gowns and hats. Probably made in England, the doll is made of wood with glass eyes, painted facial features and jointed limbs. This is the first time this doll has been on display.
Trains have always captured the imagination of children and adults alike. This wooden train features railcars decorated with the names of rail lines from the northeast including New York and Philadelphia. Although there are no wheels on this train, the painted details give it a realistic look that would surely delight any young boy. In addition, several electric Lionel trains from the Carstens collection dating from the 1920s-1940s -- including the Blue Comet and the Flying Yankee – are on view.
Colonial Williamsburg Art Museums acknowledge Phyllis and the late Hal Carstens of Newton, N.J., for their support of the exhibition.
“A Child’s-Eye View” is on display in the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum through Feb. 15, 2010.
The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are comprised of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made in America during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries and embracing most categories of American folk art by well-known folk artists. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from the period 1670–1830.
The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets, in Williamsburg, Virginia and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.