Small Talk Tag: Renovation

Do You See What I See?

Optical Toys

If you’ve been following along, you’ve noticed by now how essential toys are to our culture’s story. And here it is again, a tale of how science influenced toys, which influenced the creation of moving pictures. In Optical Toys, part of the new permanent exhibits at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, visitors explore the 1820s discovery of persistence of vision. Scientists theorized that the human eye remembers an image for a fraction of a second after it disappears. Thus, if two images are moving rapidly, the mind blends them into one image. Caught on yet?!

While this was only part of how the mind perceives movement, it set in motion (see what we did there?) the exploration of how the mind explores action and depth through optical toys. Think View Masters, stereoscopes, and kaleidoscopes. In the center of it all is a giant zoetrope showing one of our favorite toys taking flight. Through the use of fast moving picture strips viewed through a slot (think of it like a flip book), our now permanently grounded plane is able to soar the skies.

How Do They Do It?

how miniatures are made

We get this question at T/m a LOT when people visit the fine-scale miniature galleries. We stay awake at night contemplating it ourselves. So, when we started talking about what we wanted to add to the miniature galleries, a look into fine-scale miniature artists’ studios was at the top of our list.

In T/m’s new exhibit, In The Artist’s Studio, visitors can watch four videos that take them into the studios of William R. Robertson and Lee-Ann Chellis Wessel. Not only did the artists let us invade their studios for multiple days of filming, which included shoving cameras inches from their faces (everything is really small!), but they also donated all of the tools they used and created multiple pieces that illustrate the steps in the process towards the final product. Robertson turned a metal candlestick on a lathe and carved a dovetail drawer. Chellis Wessel painted an egg tempera canvas and turned a ceramic plate on a wheel. While the exhibit provides some answers, it will still leave you in awe of their work!

The Moment We’ve Been Waiting For

Architecture Classroom

Drum roll please… The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures (yup, that’s us!) will be reopening Saturday, August 1, 2015! The construction is finally wrapping up and we’re getting the building all neat (we’re talking neat enough to eat off the floors) and pretty in preparation for the collection’s homecoming. We’ve got lots of exhibits to fabricate, objects to install, and a two-story toy sculpture to put together.

While we begin the countdown to August (159 days, 2 hours, 1 minute, 52 seconds… but who’s counting?!), check out our new website! Thanks to support from the Victor E. Speas Foundation, Bank of America, trustee, you can browse our collection, search for volunteer and internship opportunities, and purchase museum memberships. And make sure to stick around for sneak peeks over the next 159 days!

Toytisserie Turnout

toy sculptures

We put out the call, and metropolitan Kansas City answered! Earlier this fall, we placed collection barrels at several area libraries, businesses, and schools to collect an assortment of small toys needed for a monumental new sculpture at T/m that we’re calling the Toytisserie. After just a month of collecting, we ended up with nearly six 55-gallon collection barrels filled with toys!

In order to get an idea of what we’re working with, we first cleaned and sorted the barrels of toys with the help of our volunteers. We ended up with dozens of categories; from baby doll bottles to Barbie brushes and Lincoln Logs to LEGO people—hundreds of small toys will get a new lease on life as part of the two-story sculpture. A BIG thank you to the folks who donated as well as to the businesses and organizations that hosted a collection site. Stay tuned as the Toytisserie pieces come together!

A Fresh Coat

the national museum of toys and miniatures renovation

It’s getting chilly out there, which means it’s just about time to march up to the attic or reach into the depths of your closet to unpack your winter coat. At T/m, we are treating ourselves to a brand new one this year- a fresh coat of paint that is! Throughout the month of November, painting crews have been spraying the exterior of the museum building a color called “Natural Cream.” Other ornate details will be come “Cottage Red.”

We hope the fresh new colors help the building “pop” and look more inviting. With much of the work on the exterior wrapping up for the winter, we’re gearing up for the daunting task of setting up the museum’s interior and exhibits. Stay warm and stay tuned for details!

Page 1 of 212