Friday, June 14, 2013

Revisting my childhood

So, twas the weekend of my birthday, what was I going to do?

Well, it being one of the few weekends I was actually in London, the grand plan was...

...actually it wasn't much.

I worked on my actual birthday, having failed to secure anything interesting to do instead, and then Specs, Sweets, and Spaz and I went out to a bar in the middle of London and continued to be there until...well, we weren't. Needless to say it was conversations and drinks. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary for our Friday nights.

Saturday I breezed through with some new episodes of Game of Thrones and finished the first season of Boardwalk Empire (a la my intern, who I'll call The Intern). Oddly I feel asleep really late and woke up late on Sunday, where I actually had plans.

Sunday I was meeting Sweets at the VA Museum of Childhood, where we planned to check out an exhibit I had read about "groupings of everyday objects that build up over time at home without a particular direction or objective: souvenirs and relics of childhood and everyday life." It was called "A Treasured Collection." Basically - instead of a curated collection of beautiful objects, what did normal people curate in their homes?

In this case of course, it was a focus on these collections over the ages, and mostly in England, but also from other countries and in this case, other centuries, which was interesting.

In all honesty the collection was a bit different than what we both had imagined, but that didn't make it less enjoyable. And awkwardly, we definitely got a slap in the face with having to face, in a museum, how old we were. Some of our most cherished childhood toys were definitely prominently on display in this museum of "historical artifacts." Oof. That's kinda rough after just turning a year older of Not Old.

What were these miraculously "aged" toys you ask? Things like Gumby, SpirographSylvanian Families, and hilariously, the toy that everyone sees in every hospital, apparently around the Western world: this. There is no official name for it, and there are many variations for it, but all I had to do was google "hospital waiting room children's toy" and boom, there it was, page one of google image search.

What this museum was particularly good at curating, apparently, along with these collections of children's toys, were dollhouses from the ages and their particular meanings given the time period and country they were from. There were masses of these, all with different levels of detail. It was fascinating. I, being a girly girl (though surprisingly this sprouted into a slight Tomboyism by my late elementary school years), definitely had my share of fabulous dollhouses. So I sympathize. There were some incredible ones here on display.

One of the more touchingly intellectual displays was perhaps a section where they studied a few different families around England that spanned three generations, and how their toys differed through the ages. These were all cross-cultural families as England is a decidedly diverse country, and each had little blurbs from each of the family members (all women except for possibly one male). Many of the views were quite hilarious. One of the girls from one family is quoted as saying, "I wouldn't change almost anything about my family...except that maybe I get an allowance." Precious museum-quality stuff.

One thing we had definitely not taken into account was the fact that it was a Sunday at a museum with the word "childhood" in its name. This, if you really think about it, means loads of people...with small children. Loud children. Disruptive children. Sooo....as you can imagine my tolerance for being around children didn't last that long. And neither did we, after scanning through about 2/3 of the exhibit. We left after maybe an hour and a half. Still saw everything we were interested in, but yeah, that was enough with the screams of children in the background the entire time.

And so we left the VA Museum of Childhood and the relics of ages gone. It was nice to revisit...but hell, I'm an adult now. ;)

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