Everyone has a favorite toy from childhood and a story to share with it. People young and old can recall memories upon the mention of their favorite toy. Because of this, toys unite generations of families and friends as well as provide entertainment.
But what about the science behind toys; how are they made and what makes them work? The Dacotah Prairie Museum is helping families answer these questions with their hands-on, seasonal children’s exhibit titled Toys: The Inside Story. Opening on February 9, the exhibit will allow kids of all ages to look inside toys and discover the gears, pulleys, cranks and circuits that make them function and move. Many different types of toys will be on display including an Etch-A-Sketch®, Jack-in-the-Box and the game Operation®. A wide variety of projects and experiments featuring toys are incorporated in to this traveling attraction. Toys: The Inside Story will be at the museum through April 30.
The idea to include a seasonal children’s exhibit at the Dacotah Prairie Museum came from Curator Lori Schaunaman and Assistant Curator Marianne Marttila-Klipsel. They wanted to create a space in Aberdeen for children to play during the winter months and for families to learn and have fun together. The rest is history, as this year marks the fifth year that the museum will house a unique exhibit for kids. “We get a lot of good feedback and participation and a wide area of people, geographically speaking, patronizing this exhibit,” says Schaunaman.
The museum rotates every other year in creating their own exhibit and bringing in a traveling one to use. Toys: The Inside Story originates from the Sciencenter in Ithaca, NY, and travels all across the country by semi-truck. When it arrives in Aberdeen in a few weeks, museum workers and volunteers will spend countless hours unloading and assembling the exhibit until it consumes the building’s two largest galleries, transforming the museum’s second floor in to an exceptional science center.
To learn even more about how toys work, children can participate in the museum’s four-week long classes taking place this March. The museum is also looking for individuals, groups and families to volunteer by overseeing the exhibit on weekends from February to April. For more information on the exhibit, classes or volunteering call the museum at 605-626-7117 or visit www.dacotahprairiemuseum.com. // –Jennifer Roth