Monday, September 13, 2004

Collecting passion 

As we barrel onward towards our first public appearance (it’s not really an exhibition per se – although it will feature artifacts and history) we are experiencing a whole range of self-doubt and re-examination of our mission. What do we want to accomplish by establishing a toy museum? Is there an audience out there who thinks that Southern California needs another museum, let alone one that deals with toys, dolls, and amusements?

We think the answer is YES. We are still looking for a home and have been approached with the idea of going underground (literally) to join a consortium of museums. We are also attracting some very interesting members whose work we’d like to share with you. These are the kinds of people who think a toy museum is worthy of support, and they are interested in a wide variety of amusements.

Gianna Maizler of F.G. & Company is a collector of antique ephemera and games, which she and her partner Darren Calkins have been reproducing in their original playable formats as well as creating wrapping paper and decorative signs. A visit to their booth at the gift show is to be transported to another time. They have recently reproduced a card game called (believe it or not) La Tee Dah. Gianna says of the two other decks she knows of, one belongs to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Another of our members is Harvey Jordan who has a very interesting collection of original paintings for amusement park rides. My favorite is the "Corn Ride". I think this could be part of a future LATDA exhibition…

Mitch W. collects children’s phonograph records (remember these?) and phonographs. We are hoping that in the future Mitch will share his passion with us and allow us to exhibit some of his pieces.

Borrowing artifacts is one way that museums can mount a wide range of exhibits without incurring the expense of purchasing and housing a permanent collection. Not all museums actively solicit artifacts, but many museums begin when someone is searching for a home for a particular collection. LATDA has a small, growing collection, however our strategy is to gather objects that we feel may fit an exhibition idea we have for the future. We were recently asked whether or not we had a Teddy Ruxpin or Tickle Me Elmo. Frankly, it didn’t ever occur to us that we should – but maybe that is because we haven’t started thinking about an exhibition that would include those items.

What do you collect? How did you get started collecting? LATDA wants to know!

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