06 Calendar

April 2016
Contact: Wendy Malloy
Museum of History & Industry PR
206 324 1126 Ext. 150

MOHAI is the only West Coast venue for this comprehensive and playful collection covering three decades of toys
July 2 – September 25, 2016

Explore The Fun of Being a Kid at MOHAI This Summer With Toys Of The ’50s, ’60s And ’70s Exhibition

April 3, 2016

SEATTLE, WA – This summer, the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) will present Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. On display from July 2 through September 25, 2016, the exhibition, developed by the Minnesota History Center, chronicles the rich contemporary cultural history of toys starting with the post-World War II era of the 1950s, to the carefree 1960s, and finishing with the endearing innovations of the 1970s.

Gumby. Barbie. Slinky. Mr. Potato Head. Wham-O. Spirograph. Hot Wheels. The names of these popular toys capture the craziness, the joy, the sheer fun of being a kid. But beneath those nutty names are rich veins of nostalgia, memory and history.

“I am delighted that the Museum of History & Industry is the only museum on the West Coast to share this fascinating and influential period in the history of toys and to present this playful exhibit from the Minnesota History Center,” said Leonard Garfield, MOHAI’s Executive Director. “Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70ss exudes fun with its interactive playrooms filled with games and toy treasures.”

Through three living rooms and one garage setting, visitors can explore hundreds of playthings, including toys that made the naughty list (messy, dangerous and annoying!). Classic toy commercials air in each room and visitors will experience multimedia presentations and a trivia game hosted (virtually) by the original Brady Bunch’s Maureen McCormick (a.k.a. Marcia Brady). Around every corner is a play zone where visitors can immerse themselves in hands-on play.

“The toys we play with are very much the products of their times,” said Kate Roberts, Minnesota History Center Exhibit Developer. “By pulling together toys as diverse as Cooties, LEGOs, and Mouse Trap, 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 inventor of the popular Cootie toy 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.”

Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s was created by the Minnesota History Center and is accompanied by an illustrated book from the Minnesota Historical Society Press. Developed in conjunction with the exhibit, the book 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 Minnesota Historical Society curator Adam Scher. $24.95 paperback, 208 pages, 80 color and black and white photos; $14.99 e-book.

Generous support for the Seattle presentation of Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s is provided by the Office of Arts & Culture Seattle, The Hanauer Family and Top Ten Toys.

Upcoming Programs and Events Related to Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s Exhibition

(Details are subject to change, and additional programs and events may be added. Please check the website soon for updated details and information).

Academy of Play
Tuesdays, July-September 20, 6:30-8 pm
$10 members / $12 general public
It’s time to PLAY! Academy of Play is a chance for adults to investigate the history, science, and goodwill of toys, games, and play. No need to leave the kids at home: the simultaneous Academy of Play Kids’ Club is a chance for youth to build toys or games with Puget Sound’s most imaginative creators.

July 19

  • Academy of Play: The Importance of Play
  • Kids’ Club: Design a Craft Stick Treehouse

Aug 30

  • Academy of Play: 21st Century Toy Maker
  • Kids’ Club: Make a Light-Up Stuffed Toy

Sept 20

  • Academy of Play: Let Toys Be Toys
  • Kids’ Club: Build a MicroWorld

MOHAI Movie in the Park: Toy Story
Saturday, August 20, 6 pm-8 pm
Watch this thrilling, playful adventure on the big screen during a special showing of Toy Story (1995, G). Arrive before the show for live music, hula hoops, games, and more!

Toys Family Day
Saturday, September 10, 10 am-5 pm
Say goodbye to Toys in style during this this fun, family-friendly day. Enjoy music, dancing, art and more!

Closing Member Party
Friday, September 23
Celebrate the closing of Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s during this exclusive member event. Revel in this chance to be silly and share personal experiences while connecting with friends and fellow members during this last chance to see the exhibit.

Not a member? Join today and discover Seattle, connect with the region and its rich history, and explore future possibilities. Membership at MOHAI guarantees year-round, unlimited access to the most riveting stories from the area while preserving the artifacts and narratives that shaped Seattle. Learn about MOHAI Membership

Location, Hours and Admission

MOHAI is located at 860 Terry Ave. N in Seattle. Exhibit gallery hours are 10 am to 5 pm daily. Admission is free on first Thursdays and the galleries are open until 8 pm (special extended hours from 10 am to 8 pm on Thursdays during July and August. Regular admission applies). Admission to Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s is included with regular MOHAI admission of $19.95 for adults, $15.95 for seniors (62 and above); $13.95 for students and military (with ID); free for children 14 and under (when accompanied by an adult) and MOHAI members. For more information, call 206 324 1126.


MOHAI is dedicated to enriching lives through preserving, sharing, and teaching the diverse history of Seattle, the Puget Sound region, and the nation. As the largest private heritage organization in the State of Washington; the museum engages communities through interactive exhibits, online resources, and award-winning public and youth education programs.

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