What toys defined your childhood? Jump ropes? Star Wars® collectibles? Easy Bake Oven? Arcade games? Whatever your favorite toy was, you’re sure to find it in TOYTOPIA, a hands-on exhibition experience developed by Stage 9 Exhibits (who also brought us last spring’s hugely popular Hall of Heroes superhero exhibit!). Prepare to enter a treasure trove of toys that connects generations. From the earliest tin toys to the hottest trends, TOYTOPIA offers fascinating history and insights into the evolution of toys throughout the 20th century.
A visit to TOYTOPIA is sure to rekindle the wonder and delight of your childhood. Featuring the world’s largest Etch A Sketch, a life-size Monopoly car and game board, a retro arcade area and a life-size dollhouse, visitors of all ages will be transported into a world of play and nostalgia, where they can discover the origins of their favorite toys, who made them and why they continue to be beloved.
TOYTOPIA showcases specialty exhibits from toymakers including: Hasbro®, Duncan Yo-Yo®, Schleich®, Breyer®, Crayola®, KNEX® (Lincoln Logs®) and many more. No matter how old you are, TOYTOPIA will make you feel like a kid again!
Exhibit MUST-SEE features:
- The World’s Largest Etch A Sketch, close to 8 feet tall (great for photo ops)!
- Retro Arcade Area, with working classic games
- A life-size Dollhouse, with engaging play areas
- A life-size Monopoly Car, for a unique photo opportunity
- LEGO® Play Area/LEGO® Wall
- LEGO® Train Layout, a fanciful working electric train layout
- Our Signature Jack in The Box explores the science of toys, from Furby® to radiometers, plus magnetic interactive play walls
- Schylling Tin Toys, see how tin toys are created out of simple sheets of tin
- Keva Planks, Lincoln Logs® and brain teasers play areas
TOYTOPIA is one of the premier exhibits created by Stage 9 Exhibits. Their exhibitions have traveled internationally and been exhibited at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, Orlando Science Center, and the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver, Canada.
Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, braved the unknown to give the world a remarkable window into humankind’s closest living relatives: chimpanzees. In this hands-on, transportive multimedia exhibition celebrating her extraordinary life and work, visitors will explore Dr. Goodall’s early years through iconic images and a multiscreen experience, and venture on an immersive projection of Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park where she did her famous behavioral research on chimps. Visitors will also see a life-size hologram of Dr. Goodall, enter a replica of her research tent, and learn about her current role as a leader in community-centered conservation and youth empowerment. Finally, visitors will find out what they can do today to make a positive impact in the world.
Rudolph “Doc” Cook, an amateur photographer who enlisted during World War I, served with the 88th Division, 313th Engineers and captured the company’s experiences with his camera. A century later, a local Omaha woman purchased a case that had belonged to Cook. The case contained his original photographic negatives. After researching Cook’s life and displaying some of the images at the Fremont Art Center in 2022, she donated the entire set to The Durham Museum.
Beyond Combat: WWI Through the Lens of Rudolph Cook is a temporary exhibition developed by The Durham Museum. Through photos curated from Cook’s collection, it tells the story of the 313th Engineers from their training at Camp Dodge until the completion of their deployment in May 1919. Their story highlights military jobs that contributed to the war effort beyond the traditionally understood duties of combat. The military engineers that “Doc” served with were responsible for repairing roads, building bridges, laying track, improving dugouts and shelters and assisting in the restoration of war-torn regions. Plans for the exhibition also include a small theater area, with seating, featuring additional images in which guests are invited to linger with “Doc” Cook’s images and immerse themselves in the 313th Engineers’ experience.
Byron Reed acquired many items for his collection throughout his lifetime and some of these included documents from historical figures or those who experienced historic events. The authors range from royalty to explorers to early colonists. This exhibit will feature a selection of documents from Reed’s collection, along with historical and biographical context for each. In addition, we will step into the world of “graphology,” which theorizes that a person’s handwriting gives insight into their personality. Local handwriting analyst Rolando Garcia provides a reading of each document with brief observations he made when studying the writing style.
Sherri Geerdes shared her creativity with The Rose, previously known as The Emmy Gifford, for the last 40 years and retired with an impressive portfolio. She designed a plethora of costumes, wigs, hats and other fun and colorful creations to help bring children’s stories to life on stage. The Durham Museum is proud to team up with The Rose Theater to display some of the costumes and accessories designed by Geerdes for various productions throughout her tenure along with her sketches. Geerdes shares her inspiration for the many designs and the display is sure to amaze with the imagination she brought to the children’s theater.
Visitors to the Ann Lowe: American Couturier exhibition at the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library in Delaware recently experienced a spectacular display of dresses designed by famed designer Ann Lowe, including two from the 1961 Aksarben Coronation that were on loan from The Durham Museum. The dresses, donated to The Durham Museum by Ann Lallman Jessop and Lynn Robertson Evert, are returning to Omaha this spring and visitors will have an opportunity to see them up close. For the first time, the dresses – in addition to the 1961 Aksarben Queen gown, also designed by Lowe – will be showcased at The Durham. The dresses will be on display for a limited time before they return to rest in our permanent collection.
Seniors (62+): $12*
Children (ages 3 – 12): $8*
Children 2 years and under FREE
Advance reservations are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome.
Members, your free admission discount is applied near the end of the online registration process.