Exhibit Showcases Toys from the Past

Written By Katherine White

January 11, 2014


I recently caught up with Silent Wings Museum Curator Donald Abbe, Ph.D., to speak with him about the museum’s current exhibit, “Toys Go To War.” If you haven’t been out to the Silent Wings Museum to see the exhibit, you’re missing out! It will run through Friday, Feb. 7, and then the toys will journey back to their respective owners (Lubbock locals).

Here’s a little more from my conversation with Abbe and what you can expect from the exhibit:

What is the exhibit?
“The “Toys Go To War” exhibit was inspired by the book, “Toys Go to War: World War II Military Toys, Games, Puzzles, & Books” by Jack Matthews. Around 200 toys from pre-war, during the war and post-war are on display. The exhibit really showcases how the production and the enjoyment of toys changed during the war, just as all aspects of the economy changed.”

Toys (3 of 8)

What was the difference in toys before, during and after the war?
“The toy industry of this time was really a reflection of the general economy. Once the war hit, rationing took place, and every economic and social institution in the nation was regulated with the goal of focusing the entire potential of the U.S. economy on the production of war materials. Toys made in the mid to late ’30s (before the U.S. joined the war) were widely made of tin and weren’t depictive of the military. Kids played with cops and robbers, cowboys, superheroes and more.”

Pre-war toys.

Pre-war toys.

“As the war picked up around the world, so did interest in military-style toys. Tanks, planes, soldiers and similar toys started being produced out of cardboard, wood and paper due to material restrictions. Toys (2 of 8)The military really encouraged these toys as they were both educational and a way to recruit. After the war is when the toy industry really perked up, and what we know of as toys today started being manufactured.”

What is your favorite part of the exhibit?
“This exhibit is a great showcasing of how WWII affected that industry and how it could dramatically change but still function in the economy. Also, this is a one-time exhibit, and everyone should have the opportunity to view these historical articles that really tell a unique story from that era.”

Here is some information about the Silent Wings Museum so you can start planning your trip out to see the “Toys Go To War” exhibit:

Silent Wings Museum
6202 N. I-27
Closed on Monday
Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
Open 1 – 5 p.m. on Sunday

General Admission:  $5
Senior Citizens(60+):  $3
Children 7 – 17:  $2
Students (with college ID):  $2
Children 6 and under Museum Members
Active Duty Military (in uniform):  FREE



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