Instructive, Entertaining and Moral: Toys & Childhood in 19th-Century America

11/27/13 through 04/06/14 | Tues.-Sun., 11am-4pm

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden

421 East 61st Street Map


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This two-part rotating exhibit showcases not only popular toys of the 19th century, but it also explores what those toys can tell us about child development and play in America in the 1800s. Emergent notions of child development in early nineteenth-century America emphasized that a properly nurtured child could be molded into a virtuous and noble citizen. Parents could use toys and play as one way to foster the education and moral character of their children. Objects on display in Part I include classic wooden toys, early board games, china head dolls, and educational toys. This first installation closes January 27. Part II, opening February 5, will feature vintage dolls, building toys, games of skill, and 19th-century technological toys.

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