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Toys from the past to delight Inverness museum visitors – which do you remember?


By Philip Murray

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Which old toys did you have as a child? Some of the toys of Christmas past which will be on display.
Which old toys did you have as a child? Some of the toys of Christmas past which will be on display.

Toys from years gone by are set to catapult adults back to their childhoods when a new exhibition opens in Inverness Museum and Art Gallery next week.

The museum will be dedicating the Foyer Gallery to a showcase of popular toys from the last few decades, rekindling happy memories of childhood and the importance of play.

The exhibition, aptly titled ‘PLAY!’, will open on Thursday (December 7), coinciding with High Life Highland’s partner, Care and Learning Alliance (CALA)’s, upcoming conference on play at the Spectrum Centre in Inverness.

The timing of ‘PLAY!’ was specifically chosen in recognition of CALA celebrating its 35th anniversary of supporting play across Highland.

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Alison Parfitt, High Life Highland’s Collections Engagement Curator, said: “Working with CALA to create an exhibition exploring play in the last 35 years has been a wonderful opportunity to revisit memories of play.

Which old toys did you have as a child? Some of the toys of Christmas past which will be on display.
Which old toys did you have as a child? Some of the toys of Christmas past which will be on display.

“A wide range of items relating to the theme of play have been loaned from the CALA team and associates, as well as volunteers from Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.

“Some toys of interest include a toy farm belonging to a now 100-year-old lady, and a striking Star Wars Lego Slave 1 model from 2015, which has been built using nearly 2000 distinct pieces.

“From Barbies to Furbies, Hot Wheels and Hogwarts, you’ll find plenty to see, and enjoy reminders of play in the past.

“We'll have plenty of playful opportunities for you to enjoy throughout the museum, and a series of pop-up play events from January through to the Easter holidays next year.

“On behalf of Inverness staff, volunteers, and the CALA team, we’re looking forward to 2024 with a packed programme of playful opportunities.”

Which old toys did you have as a child? Some of the toys of Christmas past which will be on display.
Which old toys did you have as a child? Some of the toys of Christmas past which will be on display.

Adam Thompson, a member of the local community who has loaned who has loaned a range of toys from his childhood including the Star Wars Lego Slave 1 model to the exhibition, shared: “It’s been surprisingly enjoyable going back through the toys of my earlier years and see how toys changed over time, I’m really happy to let the museum use them for the exhibit, it’s something I’m very glad to be a part of.”

Jaci Douglas, CALA’s chief executive, concluded: “CALA has had play at the heart of all we do for over 35 years and we are really excited to be partnering with High Life Highland to showcase and highlight the vital importance of play past, present and future at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.

“Our exhibition and associated play sessions will hopefully bring that message to fore, and we are looking forward to seeing everyone in 2024!”

For CALA's 35th anniversary celebration on Thursday 18th January 2024, an exhibition exploring the value and impact of play to children, adults and society will open in the Community Gallery.

For further information, visit the dedicated High Life Highland webpage at www.highlifehighland.com/inverness-museum-and-art-gallery/care-and-learning-alliance-cala/.


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