Giddy Up: Children Take the Reins
EXPLORE THE WORLD OF CAROUSEL ANIMALS & CHILDHOOD TOYS THAT ROCK, BOUNCE, & ROLL
Pasadena Museum of History
THIS "TOUCHABLE'" EXHIBITION was on view in late 2019.
[American, Wonder Horse, spring rocking horse, circa 1940]
PMH invited visitors to bask in the joyful ambiance of quintessential childhood amusements in a uniquely “touchable” exhibition, Giddy Up: Children Take the Reins. Curated by local collector and conservator Lourinda Bray, the exhibition ran through September, 2019
The PMH galleries were filled with a dizzying array of more than thirty-five smaller scaled carousel horses and exotic creatures that visitors of all ages will be able to see – and touch. An enchanting photo booth features a double-seat Polar Bear from an English carousel by J.R. Anderson, circa 1920, that children and adults could climb on for a special keepsake photo.
A selection of ride-on horses/animals that rock, bounce, and/or roll, along with a wide variety of animals and carousel themed toys, are also on view. Today we might call these the ‘interactive’ toys and amusements of yesteryear. They were specifically designed to spark children’s imaginations, encouraging youngsters to “take the reins and create their own unique stories and fictional characters as they pretended to be their favorite cowboy film stars or other fictional characters.
Giddy Up is the Museum’s second exhibition devoted solely to items from Lourinda Bray’s collection. Her Running Horse Studio in Irwindale, CA houses her nearly unimaginable menagerie, along with carousel art, miniatures, toys, and more in 7,000 square feet of merry-go-round memorabilia. Here she carefully restores figures for other collectors and for operational carousels, as well as pieces in her own collection, which spans the history of carousels from the mid-nineteenth century to modern day, with many examples from the “Golden Age of Carousels,” 1861-1920.