Like a Kid at Christmas at Heritage Museum and Gardens

MD-historical society 2x-110215

Special to Dorchester Banner/DCHS
This Keystone Steamroller is circa 1920 and was a rolling toy or, with handles it became a riding toy. This one received a much needed refurbishment (it came to DCHS painted black) which included a paint job and a new decal.

Variety of toys on display from now through Dec. 31; Wright to discuss his  incredible Erector set collection Nov. 10

CAMBRIDGE — This holiday exhibit at the Heritage Museums and Gardens of Dorchester, strives to connect the viewer with simpler times by tugging at the inner child present within each of us. Whatever the memory — poring over a Sears catalog, the year that Santa forgot the stockings, or that first bicycle — these thoughts act as triggers to transport us in our own histories.

While not Dorchester unique, this exhibit can demonstrate just how alike all of us are- no matter age, race, or political affiliation! Of course, using “Christmas” is not politically correct but used as the familiar phrase with which most can relate.
On display now through Dec. 31 are a wide variety of toys, both from the collection of the Dorchester County Historical Society and on loan from the public. Visitation is encouraged and admission will be free during this exhibit. The facilities are open from 10 am – 4 pm, Monday through Friday and from 10 am – 2 pm on Saturdays.

Toys displayed from the museum’s collection include antique dolls with their accessories, a wonderful Schoenhut Humpty Dumpty Circus set, noisemakers, a set of play tools, antique and handmade, small wooden boat models and more.  Items recently gifted will also be shared and include an antique child’s spinning wheel and loom set, a 1950s dollhouse and an early set of locally made, upholstered doll furniture.

Of particular interest is an artifact recently donated by the Tolley family. This “toy” is a large, three masted schooner, complete with rigging and bowsprit that began its second life in an unusual way. Found abandoned in an outbuilding years ago, several generations of children played with it, floating it in ditches for many voyages. The original craftsman is unknown, but after decades of play it was reworked into a display model by the late Reese Todd who was a boatbuilder by trade. Included, when donated, were the original masts, anchor and other pieces that speak to its past life.

On loan for this exhibit are model trains from Phil Todd and Spicer Leaming, tractors and more from Erick Windsor, and a collection of fire trucks from Joe Secrist. Early video games are being shown, courtesy of Andrew Todd (think Atari).

For two weeks, Robert Wright’s incredible Erector Set collection will be on display. This working collection requires almost thirty feet of space for set up and includes a parachute drop, ferris wheel, dirigible and more.  Mr. Wright will speak on Nov. 10 at 7 pm.

Anyone who would like to loan their toys for inclusion in this display are encouraged to contact the Dorchester County Historical Society by calling 410-228-7953.

DCHS is a 501 (c)3, nonprofit corporation and operates on funding from its membership, sponsors, events, etc. Funding for this programming and exhibit was received from the Waddell Foundation. The Heritage Museums and Gardens of Dorchester are located at 1003 Greenway Drive (off of Maryland Avenue, East) in Cambridge.

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