The Mabee offers 'The Timelessness of Toys' as virtual exhibit

PLAINVIEW — Old meets new with The Timelessness of Toys virtual online exhibit offered by The Mabee, a collection of museums located inside Mabee Regional Heritage Center on Wayland Baptist University’s Plainview campus.

The virtual online exhibit can be viewed at through December.

The toys are old, but how they are being exhibited is new. The exhibit spotlights vintage and antique toys from the Llano Estacado Collection, showing their timeless charm while exploring the impact the toys have made on play today. It’s the method of exhibition that is different, according to Abby Tharp, the museum intern who curated and designed the virtual online exhibit. While not the museum’s first virtual exhibit, the form of display is not common. Most exhibits require viewer to visit The Mabee, but virtual online exhibits can be viewed anywhere in the world.

Inspiration for the exhibit came as Tharp, who is working on a Master of Museum Science degree at Texas Tech University, strolled through the basement of The Mabee.

“I was looking around the Llano Estacado Collection and saw all of these old toys,” Tharp explained. “I noticed they are toys that are still very popular today, but they were popular in the 19th century as well. I wanted to connect them with modern-day toys, but also share how different they are. The toys were a lot simpler because playtime was a lot simpler. They are a lot different from today’s technological toys.”

After selecting the toys to be displayed, the curator spent about a month researching the items. It took another month to put it all together and build the Webpage.

Among the items exhibited are a stereoscope from the 1800s, a Magic Dots game from the early 1900s, a baby stroller from the 1920s, and spinning tops from the mid-1900s.

“The doll was my favorite. The Crazing Doll with the cracked face got me,” Tharp said.

The image of the doll is startling to viewers at first, but the history of the piece is fascinating.

The exhibit is part of requirements for Tharp’s completion of her internship with the museum.

In addition to temporary exhibits like The Timelessness of Toys and Fandom Fusion: A Pop Culture Celebration, which is on display through the end of the October, The Mabee includes The Flying Queens Museum, Jimmy Dean Museum, and Museum of the Llano Estacado. Mabee Regional Heritage Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, as well as seasonal hours on Saturdays through Nov. 15.