“Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s” at MOHAI, July 2 – September 25

Posted on April 27, 2016, 10:44 am
3 mins


Get ready for a heavy dose of nostalgia. This July, Museum of History & Industry presents Toys of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Organized by the Minnesota History Center, the exhibition’s only west coast stop is MOHAI. The objects will be presented in interactive playrooms designed to look like three living rooms and a garage, airing classic commercials and a virtual trivia game presented by another nostalgic figure: Maureen McCormick (a.k.a. Marcia Brady).

marcia brady hit in nose in classic brady bunch

As always, exercise caution when playing indoors.

Many of the iconic toys on display are still around, notably Barbie, and some have changed over the years while others remain very much the same, such as Slinky and Mr Potato Head. (The Pet Rocks haven’t really changed in several million years, actually.) While the basic function of toys like Hotwheels and Legos remains the same, one sees their designs evolve with the tastes of the time. The exhibit charts some of this history alongside personal anecdotes.

MMORPGs, Minecraft and other video games extend play into virtual spaces, but humans still have an instinctive need for physical play and world-building. For the adults, Toys of the 50s, 60s and 70s may become more than a nostalgic diversion, as it provokes one to think on the nature of play, creativity and the means by which these toys have created not just vents for youthful energy, but networks of interaction. Meanwhile, children ought to be quite entertained. In short, it’s an exhibit for kids of all ages, from 1 to 92.

See MOHAI’s website for more details. Here are some of the programs in connection with the exhibition.

Academy of Play and Kids’ Club at MOHAI

An event series on select Tuesday evenings, 6:30 – 8 pm, allowing guests 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 and Kids’ Club: Design a Craft Stick Treehouse
  • August 30: Academy of Play: 21st Century Toy Maker
  • Sept 20: Academy of Play: Let Toys Be Toys and Kids’ Club: Build a MicroWorld

$10 members. $12 general public.

MOHAI Movie in the Park: Toy Story

A free, all ages screening of Pixar’s smash-hit Toy Story (1995, G). Pre-show entertainment includes live music, hula hoops, games and more! Saturday, August 20, 6 – 8 pm

Toys Family Day

The exhibition ends with a family-friendly day of music, dancing, art and other activities. Saturday, September 10, 10 am – 5 pm


T.s. Flock is a writer and arts critic based in Seattle and co-founder of Vanguard Seattle.