Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tynemouth Toy Museum write-up

I found this recent write-up of 'The Childhood Memories Toy Museum' today....and there's lots more 'nothing happening much' visitors attractions here including the Keswick Pencil Museum if you're that way inclined. Now I think the last time I was there was when Daizy would have been about 3....and it looks like they might have upgraded the floor surface from basic concrete (with puddles) since then, and maybe better lighting too!

"Childhood doesn’t belong in a museum - it’s noisy and fun, not quiet and organised. When you walk into the barn-like space that is Childhood Memories Toy Museum the overall effect is of a chaotic bedroom that’s had a last minute tidy up for visitors. The name really fits, as soon as you come in the door it’s like being a kid again, looking at a whole heap of exciting things and wondering what to play with first.

There’s obviously been an attempt to organise the huge number of toys on show. There are neat displays showing an impressive array of toy guns, robots, doll’s house furniture, Sooty & Sweep, ventriloquist’s dummies, Sindy dolls, Mr (and Mrs) Potato Heads, it goes on and on. But outside these collections toys spill everywhere. Bizarre board games such as On The Buses and I only arsked: The Bernard Breslaw Game balance on the display cases, and anything that can hang dangles from the ceiling.

In the middle of the floor large dolls and cuddly toys of all ages are corralled inside miniature vehicles. Some of the old ones would give you nightmares, their glass eyes staring at you in the dark. A teddy sits in a Sinclair C5, not actually a toy car even though it looks like one. And everything is equal here. Although many of the exhibits are highly collectable there’s no indication that that makes them more important. Classic toys are on show alongside tiny disposable things and famous names jostle with others that have been long forgotten. That makes sense – kids don’t discriminate either.

As you peruse the collection a soundtrack of wartime hits give it a jolly air. Above the music there are cries of “Oooh. I used to have this!” or “I always wanted one of these”. As most of the toys are from the 1970s and earlier they will appeal to big kids of 30+ but so many familiar faces have endured or come back round little kids can also find favourites like Barbie, Batman, Action Man and Thunderbirds. Despite the Playstation generation childhood hasn’t really changed that much.

Childhood Memories Toy Museum can be found at Palace Building, Grand Parade, Tynemouth, North Shields, Tyne and Wear, NE30 4JH. It has been there for 16 years, starting in smaller premises in Whitley Bay. When not scouting for toys the owners also run a dolls' hospital. There is a small admission charge but it is a small price to pay for the joy of Childhood Memories."

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