Boston, Massachusetts: Children's Museum Hall of ToysAmazingly detailed and extensive miniature dioramas, packed with visual gags that are wasted on children.
Boston Children's Museum
- 308 Congress St., Boston, MA
- In the Boston Children's Museum, next to the giant Hood Milk Bottle, north of Congress St. along the riverfront.
- Sa-Th 10 am - 5 pm; F 10 am -9 pm. (Call to verify)
- $9 adults, $7 children (2-15) and senior citizens, Fri. 5-9 pm $1.
Visitor Tips and News About Children's Museum Hall of Toys
Like a cabinet of wonder for the toy-collecting set, this is old-school children's museum display at its best. Many of the over 3,000 miniatures that make up the dioramas in the Boston Children's Museum's Hall of Toys exhibit have been on display since 1911, when an educator founded the museum in his Jamaica Plain home. Today, the exhibit, in a bay of a former wool-drying warehouse, boasts some of the most amazing and insightful miniature vignettes you will see on display in Boston. The World's Smallest Flea Market. An Awards Ceremony for MC Hammer, circa 1993. Beatrix Potter's Tale of the Two Bad Mice, in dollhouse form (complete with tiny trashed mattresses, mice behaving badly, and porcelain hams). Six fully furnished, New England-style dollhouses form the core of the exhibit, and include a fully-stocked basement with crank washing machine, eye-straining miniature paintings above 3"x5" mantels, and even pony bead-sized kittens curled on a rug.
The big attractions, however, are the dioramas, which populate an entire wall. Here, you will find a street scene with Austrian wooden reindeer, a baby newspaper stand, and a clothesline hung with wash fit for a sparrow. Down below the street scene, you'll see a little window that views under the manholes in the pavement, revealing a stuffed gila monster. If you look closely at a Parisian cafe scene, you will see that the stuffed mice in the corner are drinking little cans of Coors. The exhibit never loses its sense of humor or ironic detachment; in fact, the most telling moment may be on the outskirts of the exhibit, where, in a vignette in a large glass case, a stuffed groundhog sells "stuffed people" -- a row of little dolls on a table before him.
Admission is a little steep if you're interested in only one exhibit-- $9 a pop-- but on Friday nights from 5-9pm, the price is only a $1. Well worth the chance to see such a bizarre arrangement of amazing children's ephemera.[Megan, 07/04/2004]