Whether literal playthings or whimsical feats of the imagination, toys manifest humanity’s innate creativity and sense of humor.

A playful spirit permeates many items in the Museum’s diverse collection. More than 3,000 toys, several hundred musical instruments, and other folk art reflect the wit of their creators.

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Carousel Pig

c. 1890

This carved wooden pig with notably realistic eyes and a curly tail has its tongue twisted into a friendly smirk.

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Noah’s Ark

c. 1880

This Ark with over 200 animals was made in the Alpine region of Germany, which has been a center of wooden toy making for several hundred years.

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Cootie Bug


This glass bead sculpture (aka Cootie Bug) has over 100 unique beads.

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Inuit Doll

Alaska, USA

Dolls like this one are made from caribou antler, a renewable resource shed by the animal on a yearly basis.

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Loco Rouge


This strange and humorous “locomobile” was made of wood, leather, iron and various found objects.

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20th Century

These maracas made from painted papier mache gourds embody the vivid and joyous sounds of Cuban music.

More Collections

Come and play at Family Sunday

Explore the Museum’s colorful exhibitions with an interactive treasure map, roll up your sleeves for a hands-on art project, learn more with a docent tour, take home prizes and have fun!

Check our calendar for the next Family Sunday