Those who long for the days when children woke up on Christmas morning and found less sophisticated toys under the tree will probably enjoy the antique toy collection on display at the Union County Museum.
Now through Jan. 31, museum visitors will have a chance to see everything from a collection of antique stuffed animals to books and dolls and a Victorian wicker doll carriage that dates back to the late 1800s.
Museum executive director Ola Jean Kelly said an antique toy collection has been featured every year at the museum, but this year the display is bigger than ever.
“We had so many beautiful toys in our collection we decided to do an exhibit,” she said. “We had so many members offer to loan their special toys. This year we have many new things we have never had before.”
Anonymous donors have provided many items, including a Martha Washington doll from 1939, a doll crib with bed clothes made in Chimney Rock, N.C., in the late 1930s, a Donald Duck book published by Walt Disney Corp. in 1936, a small Scarlett O'Hara doll, books, toys, stuffed animals and doll furniture.
A donor who did not want to be named loaned a doll china closet fashioned from a wooden cigar box in 1933. It was made by a Mr. Davis, who for many years was caretaker at First Presbyterian Church.
“He came to Union with the circus and when it left, he stayed behind,” Mrs. Kelly said.
On display are numerous savings banks from the late 20th century that are part of the museum's permanent collection. Christy McWhorter has loaned an automatic iron elephant bank and a miniature sailor statuette.
Charles and Susan Glaser have loaned a Victorian wicker doll carriage thought to have been made between 1870 and 1890. They also have loaned a Christmas quilt - circa 1935, two cardboard Coca-Cola Santas and three sleds, including a Flexible Flyer made around 1921.
Also on display from the museum collection are dolls, doll houses and doll clothes and accessories from the late 19th century, a tea set circa 1940 and Mr. Do Bee cups from the Romper room TV show. A Victorian doll house owned by the late John Edward Beckham also is part of the museum's collection. Beckham, who grew up in Santuc, was a well-known New York dress designer.
Bob Bennett has loaned several of his handmade iron miniature trucks and farm equipment pieces and four Tonka trucks from the period when the company's toys were still being made in the USA.
Mrs. Kelly said a complete Lionel train set also will be set up in the museum.
A Christmas scene has been set up in the museum's living history section - the store front adjacent to the museum. Santa is paying a visit to a home complete with a Christmas tree, presents and a fire in the fireplace.
(The Union County Museum is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Saturday from 2-5 p.m. )