Alresford Toy Museum 

Museum Introduction

 

Welcome to my Toy Museum for a Day website which has been created with many thanks by Dave McCarthy

Running a Toy Museum is a difficult job, handling finances such as rent, business rates, buying in stock, staff, repairs, advertising and maintaining visitor numbers to raise income. Over the last few years several well known Toy Museums have closed (London Toy Museum, Cockermouth Toy Museum). The wonderful collections are either in storage or sold off to various collectors often never to be seen by the public again. Many collectors have a dream of running a Museum however without secure finance and appropriate property it is almost impossible to run a Museum without grants or other similar avenues of help.

 Being a life long toy train collector with a fondness for other toys I thought it would therefore be a good idea to get several collectors together to display their toys for a day rather than leave them in boxes in the loft gathering dust. 

Having organised the successful Festival of Toy trains in Alresford every June for the last 15 years I set about organising the day (with a view to it being an annual event if it was successful). So towards the end of 2007 I booked the Alresford Community Centre in March and sent out requests in various magazines, egroups and well known collectors to show their collections. I was delighted with the response and equally amazed at how many of my fellow train collectors also collected other toys. (I was not alone!)

Variety is always my aim and I was able to arrange for collectors to bring toys from the Victorian Era up to the 1990’s. One of my objectives was to have as many operation toys as possible and where possible allow the public to operate and touch the toys. I was also aware that this was not to be a boy’s zone only and made sure girls toys were on display.

I also wanted to display as many of my own toys as possible and was in debt to my old friend Don Spence who spent many hours renovating various items including Britain’s Hunt set and the Buildajig jigsaw of a steamer. Godfrey Andrews for mounting and arranging the various jigsaws.

Having not worked or helped in a Museum I took on Chris March from Horsham Museum who was able to give valuable assistance and advice before and on the day.

To ensure the day was as popular as possible I had set up a Quiz for School children and delivered 800 leaflets to the six local Primary Schools. I advertised heavily in local papers and in various collectors’ magazines as well as local radio. I also had a preserved Aldershot and District double Decker bus operate between Alresford Railway Station and the Museum.

Working all day Saturday getting the Halls in the Community Centre ready it was wonderful when despite heavy drizzle over 550 visitors came and enjoyed the show.

Several asked will I be doing it again next year and it did not take me long to decide this is an event worth doing again. Hopefully all being well it will be come an established event and give enjoyment to young and old for many years to come.

If you have a small collection you would like to display please contact me bob.leggett@tesco.net

Bob Leggett
Curator for a day

 

Your Curator setting up exhibits for the 2008 event.