Exhibit of 1840s German toys opening at Colonial Williamsburg

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(Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg)
(Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg)

Children’s toys handcrafted in Germany in the 1840s are the focus of a new exhibit opening Saturday, Oct. 29, at Colonial Williamsburg’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.

According to a CW new release, the exhibit features about 50 toys as well as a rare 200-page, hardcover catalog filled with hand-colored, engraved images of more than 2,400 toys made in Germany, which in the 19th century was considered the “Toy Center of the World.”

The “German Toys in America” exhibit, the first major show focused on these wooden and papier maché toys, will be on display through August 2018.

“Colonial Williamsburg owns a spectacular collection of 19th-century German toys. Colorful and imaginatively detailed, they never fail the command the attention of those who see them,” Ronald Hurst, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s chief curator and vice president for collections, conservation and museums said in the release. “In this age of electronic playthings, these handmade animals, vehicles, and figures can still stir the imaginations of our visitors, both the young and the not so young,”

The largest toy in the exhibit is a 24-inch, painted-wood Noah’s Ark that includes about 80 pairs of animals. Another highlight is a wood-and-paint village in which each of the 14 pieces is a simple, shaped piece of wood painted a bright color and dotted with black windows. Mounted toy soldiers and a squeaking duck are among other fascinating toys featured in the exhibit.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and S. Henry Streets in Williamsburg, and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. The museums are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Additional museum program information is available by calling (757) 220-7724.