Friday, August 28, 2009

Field Trip: Toy Museum

Tucked away in a very unassuming windowless building in the semi-industrial area of Southeast Portland is perhaps one of the more fascinating museums in this city. This famed toy museum has been spoken about for many years but very few individuals have taken the time to visit the location. Sometimes they just have trouble finding it.

But if they do manage to find this location, they are going to be amazed by a world class collection of toys from the late 1800s to the 1950s. Over the next few days, as I complete a tour of museums, I will post some more pictures of the Kidd's Toy Museum's collection to provide a broader scope of what they hold.

From my understanding, the owner of the collection was a property owner in the neighborhood and a avid fan of tin toys and old lead banks. By far, their collection of animated banks has to be one of the largest in the country. Along with these there are other odd artifacts from the railroad history of the Northwest, naval history of Oregon, toy trains, doll houses, locks, dolls, toy soldiers, and other assorted memorabilia of childhood before plastic.

Of the more unusual objects in the collection were these two wind-up toy bears. At least the box says they are bears. I am not convinced though. These mechanical toy beasts really look more like a cross between between a rat, yeti, and Weird Uncle Martin who refuses to shave but and listens to religious radio all day.

The directions are particularly ominous. Remember the instructions for the taking care of a pet mogwai in Gremlins? It is kind of like that, except even more dangerous, because we don't have a movie to tell us what these mechanical beast will turn into if their legs are touched or something is put in their mouth. God forbid if you give it food after midnight...

Just look at those teeth and think of how many porcelain dolls it could eat in one sitting...

With our next photo set, we will look at the racist banking institution through the lens of toys. Educational and playful. Should be fun!

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