June 12, 2008

Museum hosts ‘Timeless Toys,’ ‘ARTiculation’

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- There is something about summer that makes it easy to long for the days when happiness was as easy as jumping rope, bouncing on a pogo stick or playing Army with the G. I. Joe guys.

The University Museum at Southern Illinois University Carbondale treats the children in all of us with an exhibit of “Timeless Toys,” opening Friday, June 13, and running through Aug. 1.

Even those not old enough to remember metal clip-on roller skates and Tonka trucks (the all-metal ones with the sharp edges) and pedal cars will enjoy a peek into summers past with this exhibit. Exhibit curator Alicia Guebert assembled a collection of toys that, to the children who first played with them were just toys, but have, by virtue of their continued popularity or even just the place they hold in the heart and memory, become classics.

It’s inevitable, of course, that some who visit the exhibit will look around and say, “What? No Inch Worm? No Smurfs?” Guebert anticipated that reaction. There’s a place for visitors to suggest additions to the exhibit.

It’ll be a great trip down memory lane for some, and bemusing for others, but everyone should come see this exhibit.

From the old to the brand-spanking new, the other new summer exhibit is “ ARTiculation,” an exhibit featuring student work from six area schools -- namely from Anna Junior High School, Elverado High School, Harrisburg High School, Vergennes Elementary School, Elkville Elementary School and Zeigler-Royalton High School. The exhibit is the culmination of a months-long collaborative project between the museum and the schools. Participating students studied art from the museum, then used it as a springboard to create their own. The art these students create is quirky, original and often surprisingly sophisticated. This exhibit also runs through Aug. 1. Carbondale Community Arts and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, support ARTiculation.

The opening reception for both exhibits is Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.