I've been eagerly looking forward to the grand opening of the Salem Toy Museum, and made it a point to go visit this weekend. What a wonderful trip down memory lane that was!
The curator, Frank Sarcia, was there to greet us as we walked in. You enter from the mall into the gift shop, where a TV was showing a vintage cartoon. The walls are painted bright colors and the displays of all the souvenirs were neatly arranged with plenty of room to navigate. We spent a good half hour exclaiming over the gift shop toys, putting on finger tentacles, bouncing a Slinky, squeezing a Love Rat, shaking an alien to watch its eyes weave back and forth ... basically touching everything! When the curator wasn't busy with other customers, he would wander by and tell us interesting facts like the finger puppets were made from casts of the original 1960s toys.
Admission into the toy museum's exhibits is $6.00 and worth every penny. The collection focuses on the 1950s-1990s, and had both boy and girl toys. There is a large collection of vintage metal lunch boxes with TV show themes, and we had a lot of fun pointing out the ones we had as kids, or the TV shows that were special favorites.
Each exhibit case had a different theme and it is worth your while to go slowly through everything. There are a lot of different items in each exhibit case, and it would be easy to miss a lot if you don't take your time. Also, if you don't see your favorite toy, ask the curator about it! We did, and he was a magician ... he opened a closet door we hadn't even noticed, rummaged through a few boxes, and pulled out the exact toy we had requested.
Frank has plans for more exhibits as the year unfolds ... I plan on stopping by frequently to look for those new exhibits! You can also follow the museum's events on Facebook. I mentioned to him that I had a large collection of vintage fortune telling cards and tarot decks, and he took my contact info - perhaps he'll feature some of my collection in a temporary exhibit at some point. I would love that - I have some really fun ones I'd love to share!
I'd love to hear from other people who have visited the toy museum. What did you like best?