Just like the films that inspired the toys and collectables in our new exhibition, An American Toy Story promises to be a real blockbuster!
This exhibition explores the huge impact that movie-licensing had on toy production and the way we play. A collection of vintage treasures and modern classics, spanning over 100 years, is on display together for the very first time. Whether you’re a Disney princess or the next James Bond, you’re certain to find something to delight you in this show.
Exhibition highlights include;
Iconic early-twentieth-century celebrity dolls, including Charlie Chaplin and Shirley Temple
Classic movie posters
Early Disney toys, including a rare 1930s Donald Duck
A collection of vintage James Bond toys
Favourite toys from the Science-Fiction films of the 1980s
Superman costume worn by Christopher Reeve
An interactive room with dressing up and photo zone
This spring and summer, the major exhibition at the American Museum in Britain is An American Toy Story. It will appeal to avid cinema fans as well as families looking for an interesting day out, as it tells the story of the toys and games that inspired – and were inspired by – popular films.
As well as showcasing movie props, vintage toys, and memorabilia from various famous films – including James Bond, Star Wars, Snow White, Mickey Mouse, Frozen, and Toy Story – the exhibition will also give visitors the chance to take part in various interactive activities, a stop-motion animation zone, and the chance to dress up as film characters.
Exhibits will include well-loved toys displayed alongside mint-condition treasures from film buffs’ collections. Donald Duck and Shirley Temple dolls from the 1930s will appear alongside the ET Extra-Terrestrial video game from 1982; 1970s Early Bird Deal and Millennium Falcon toys can be contrasted with Buzz Lightyear 1996 action figures; and more recent films such as Frozen will be represented too.
Disney started early in the licencing and franchise business, but few other early film companies ventured into that arena as it was not seen as not very profitable. In 1977, there was a radical change when George Lucas struck his infamous deal with 20th Century Fox for a share of the merchandising rights for Star Wars. The money made from this deal exceeded box office takings and enabled Lucas to set up his own production company. It also heralded an era of film in which merchandise became both commonplace and also collectable.
Items on loan to the exhibition have come from a variety of sources ranging from children lending their beloved toys to serious collectors showing valuable and unusual pieces.
The exhibition will be open from 19 March – 30 October 2016 in the Exhibition Gallery.
Tuesday – Sunday, 12noon – 5pm. Gardens and café open from 10.30am.
Closed Mondays except during August and on Bank Holidays.
An inspired conception competently executed, this exhibit currently housed in The American Museum in Bath is sure to bring joy to children and a nostalgic misty eye to the parents.
SUPERMANIA was lucky enough to get these preview images of the Superman display as it was being installed, showing a very rare and complete costume from Superman IV: The Quest For Peace on loan from the V&A’s Hollywood Costume exhibit of a few years back. Having just toured the world, this is a rare opportunity to see the only genuine Superman costume on display anywhere in the UK. Unfortunately, the same restrictions on photography still apply and fans will also notice the cape has been re-mounted with the straps on the outside – Chief Curator Kate Hebert explains;
“I am aware that the Superman cape is mounted incorrectly. I am, alas, unable to correct this. The costume is a loan from the V&A Museum. They mounted the costume on the mannequin and we, as the borrowing institution, are not permitted to change it. I suspect that it has been mounted in this way for conservation reasons but I will contact them to confirm this…”
Regardless, set against a perfect backdrop and accompanied by arguably the greatest Superman action figure produced to date (Hot Toys) in such great surroundings this has all the makings of a memorable day out..!