Peter Garnham (left) and Alyssa Gerwing of the Sidney Museum show off a small fraction of the hundreds of toys they will display for the Toys ‘n’ Teddy Bears of Christmas Past exhibit. (Kristyn Anthony/News staff)

Sidney Museum kicks it up a notch with Christmas toy exhibit

Throwback Thursday all month long with retro toys on display during annual holiday show

Every year around the holiday season the Sidney Museum brings back its famous teddy bear exhibit, but this year the team is stepping it up a notch hoping to appeal to a younger audience with the same classic vintage feel.

The Toys ‘n’ Teddy Bears of Christmas Past exhibit runs for the month of December with classic playthings from as far back as the early 1930s.

Transformers, My Little Pony, Dinky Toys, Hot Wheels, Barbie dolls, Tonka trucks, board games and Lego – it’s all on display creating a visual time machine for generations of museum-goers.

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Peter Garnham, executive director of the museum, estimates there are “several hundred” pieces to the exhibit, some on loan from the community, some donated and a good portion from the depths of his basement.

As a collector, Garnham has made a point to incorporate the histories of the toys in this year’s display.

“That then is more of an appeal to adults as well,” he says.

For example, Dinky Toys went out of business in 1968, so a lot of the items will be not only a throwback to the past, he explains, but for some younger attendees, the first time they will have set eyes on such toys.

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Assistant director Alyssa Gerwing hopes shifting the focus of the annual Christmas display will bring more folks through the door.

“It’s the first time we’ve done it this way,” says Gerwing. “It was just time for a bit of a change.”

It seems the retro refit has sparked some people to dig around and see what they might still have at home; donations are still coming in and the exhibit is two days from opening.

“People are hearing about it and they’re contacting us,” says Gerwing, whose own collection of Polly Pockets will line one of the display cases throughout the 5,000-square-foot museum.

The goal was to be able to present a wide range of things, she adds. “We were trying to really hit not just girls’ toys, not just boys’ toys, not just from a specific time frame, so there’s something for everybody.”

The Sidney Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and admission is by donation. For more information visit sidneymuseum.ca or call 250-655-6355.


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