Please note: Due to COVID-19, many of the interactive elements in the exhibit are not available at this time, but the exhibit is still open for the public to enjoy! The Baby Boomer era (late-1940s to mid-1960s) was a time of great abundance for middle-class America. Economic prosperity was at an all-time high and the influx of television helped propel a new middle-class into a consumer-driven society.
Additionally, a soaring birthrate made the country a child-focused culture. These children, however, grew up in a time of great dramatic change and parents were caught between a familiar past and a complex future. Toys would help children find their correct place in society, or so parents wanted to believe. These toys reflected the energy, ambition, and abundance of a prosperous era, but they also channeled the uncertainties of the period.
“The baby-boomer years were a time of more in America… including more toys,” says Katie Edwards, the curator of popular culture at the North Carolina Museum of History. “We created this exhibit to help North Carolinians reflect on their paths from childhood to adulthood, including the toys that paved the way.”
The artifacts in Toy Boom are curated into unique environments, including TV westerns, space age, zany toys, creative toys, dolls, action figures and more.