Toys in the Community: Valuing Memories of Teddy Bears, Dolls and Construction Toys
This book is the result of a Heritage Lottery funded project run by Brighton Toy and Model Museum which collected memories of teddy bears, dolls and construction toys. Extracts from the interviews, accompanied by illustrative photographs, show how such memories provide a valuable insight not only into the types of toys that people owned, but also into the relationships between people and toys. More
This book is the result of a two year project run by the Brighton Toy and Model Museum and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Working with volunteers, the project collected memories of teddy bears, dolls and construction toys from 40 people with varying life experiences. The youngest interviewee was 19 years old and the eldest was 99. Although the people we interviewed grew up in a range of places, both in the UK and abroad, they all lived in the Brighton and Hove area at the time of their interview. Some of them are living with physical or mental health issues, while a number of the interviewees have current or past experience of homelessness.
In this book extracts from the interviews are accompanied by illustrative photographs of toys from the museum’s collection, as well as portrait photographs of the interviewees. The interview extracts show how memories of toys and play provide a valuable insight not only into the types of toys that people owned, but also into the relationships between people and toys, in both childhood and adulthood. These relationships are reflected in five interlinking themes which emerged during the review of the interview material. These are acquisition, emotion, play, identity and loss. These are illustrated by themed photographs.
In the writing of this book there were a number of approaches we could have taken. However, given that the purpose of the project was to value the memories of those who chose to share them with us, we decided that the most appropriate approach was to let these voices largely speak for themselves, although we have arranged them according to toy type and theme. We hope that this will help people to reflect on their own memories of toys, and what they mean to them.
Full versions of the interviews, in both video and audio form, are available on the project website – www.toysinthecommunity.org