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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Dollhouse Furniture display stands

Preparation work for our new dollhouse furniture display for Arch 2 continues...

We now have the two side-stands completed and in position in the alcove. Work still to be done includes kitting out the individual rooms with flooring and backdrops, completing renovation work on the Gottschalk dollhouse that will be standing between them, deciding on the auxiliary exhibit material for the display, and then ... finally ... getting our C19th/C20th dollhouse furniture out of storage, sorting it, and then deciding which pieces are going to get to go on display.

Since the rooms and their backdrops are modular and interchangeable, the tentative plan is that if it turns out that we still have too much important material to display at once, we may be able to rotate individual rooms on and off display. We'll see how it goes.  

Saturday, 30 January 2016

New exhibition-grade Bassett-Lowke traction engine model

Burrell-type traction engine, 1:16 scale exhibition-grade model
We've just put a new acquisition on display, a rather lovely 1:16 scale exhibition-grade model traction engine based on the Bassett-Lowke castings set. We believe it to have been engineered in around 1962, which is supported by the numberplate, GK 1962.

As well as being quite beautifully painted and lined the model has a wealth of additional fine detailing that wasn't standard for builds of the B-L kit, including wooden duckboards and accessories.

The model was in Chris' workshop for around a month before it went on display, eliciting oohs and ahhs from all who saw it. Apart from the exceptional build quality of the model, the model fills a "gap" in our collection, as the model was one of the longest-running products in Bassett-Lowke's catalogue, and featured regularly in their post-war advertising and catalogue covers, and until now we didn't have one.

We are now very happy.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Toys in the Community Launch Event, 27th January

Today we held the official launch party for our two-year Toys in the Community project.

One of the project "theme" posters
The event was a "thank you" for the volunteers and interviewees, and a chance for them to meet and see the finished work, and share their experiences.

The project's outputs are available online on the project website and on the dedicated Toys in the Community YouTube channel, and the project will also be holding an exhibition on the 28-29 May, a Study Day on 11th April, and the main exhibition on 12th May, during the museum's week of 25th Anniversary celebrations.

Monday, 11 January 2016

New aeroplane in foyer!

Scary for those who don't like heights...

This is why we don't open on Mondays
As part of our emphasis on new exhibits for 2016, we've set up another radio-controlled model aircraft built by Denis Hefford in the museum lobby.

The plane is a three-engined Junkers Ju52, marked out with the livery of Adolf Hitler's personal plane in 1932 (number D-AHIT), and it's suspended overhead just inside the doorway, where it's being attacked by our two large overhead model Supermarine Spitfire fighter aircraft.

Due to its size, this model aircraft has been in storage for a long time, waiting for us to have a way to actually display it in the Museum. The lobby may not look especially huge, but its ceiling is actually three stories high, so we weren't able to put up the aircraft until after we'd invested in our own three-storey scaffolding tower in late 2015.

The first item is now crossed off our 2016 to-do list!
Some reassembly required ...
Stringing up the plane with steel cord

Friday, 1 January 2016

2016 - The Museum's 25th Anniversary

Brighton Toy and Model Museum opened at its current location under Brighton Railway Station way back in 1991, making 2016 our 25th anniversary.

The museum has come a long way since a band of friends first got together to gut a series of derelict arches under the station and create a time capsule to hold and display the cream of late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century toy and modelmaking.
From a Dream to a Gem, Chris Littledale

To commemorate the year, we've been planning a series of new exhibits and display updates which will be appearing during 2016, including a number of new exhibits and display improvements, some of which that have been planned almost since the museum's inception. To prepare, we spent most of 2015 improving the museum's general background infrastructure, so that this year could be all about New Things to Look At.

Major 2016 upgrades will include:

  • An overhaul and upgrading of the large Meccano Ltd. display's contents, to include some desperately rare pieces that we've had in storage (or under restoration) for years. 
  • The completion of a brand new display of Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century dollhouse furniture (currently being constructed).
  • The overhaul, reorganisation and expansion of the toy theatres section, to include some additional rare pieces.
Provisional schedule of events for the year
As well as these new displays, we'll also be holding a series of anniversary year events and adding a number of new individual exhibits to some of the other displays, including the hanging of an additional large Denis Hefford model airplane in the Museum foyer and the display of a beautiful exhibition-grade 3/4-inch scale Bassett-Lowke model traction engine in the Toyshop Steam cabinet. The anniversary year also marks the culmination of our Toys in the Community project, and we'll be having a special celebration week in May with guided tours and talks.

Our big restoration project for 2016 is the exacting restoration and display of a prototype 1930s gauge 0 model of the Brighton Belle Pullman Electric train.  This is an important piece in its own right, but its restoration and public showing is especially appropriate given that the completed restoration and public running of the real Brighton Belle is expected to take place this year. 
Outside the museum, 2016 is also the 175th anniversary of Brighton Station (built 1841), and should see the inauguration of the i360 observation tower at the site of the old West Pier

Saturday, 14 November 2015

What's Happening in the Museum in December?

Our next PlayDay is on 13 December so I bet you’ll never guess what the theme is going to be. That’s right, IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!

We’ll be hosting an afternoon of festive fun with all our usual attractions, including face-painting, arts and crafts, toys to play with and a story teller. The story will naturally be on a Yuletide theme and the crafts will centre around making Christmas decorations, including the basics such as paper chains and snowflakes to garlands, angels and stars. Face-painting will be on a similarly festive theme, unless you want something else, we can paint you up to look like anything you want.

If you want to join in then you can come to the Brighton Toy and Model Museum any time between two and five. Children's Playdays are held every second Sunday of each month. Admission is £5 per child and groups of up to 4 children can bring an adult for free, any additional adults would have to pay the regular price of adult admission.

In other news, it’s not too late to book tickets for Harry’s Tricks. Harry’s Tricks play 1920's, 1930's and 1940's popular music from Britain and America. They are led by the unique vocal and guitar style of Mike Potter, who combines the influence of Fats Waller, Al Bowlly, Slim Gaillard and Billie Holiday. They’ll be playing in the museum from 7pm November 21. It’s a child friendly event so you can feel comfortable bringing the whole family. Tickets for the Harry’s Tricks performance will be £8.00 for adult audience members, £5.00 for children.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

November's Playday Won't Be What You Expect

Brighton Toy and Model Museum’s Last Playday was a Hoot, a Scream, And a Bump in the Night

We had a great turn-out of visitors who all got into the dress-up spirit and enjoyed all kinds of creepy games and activities on a Halloween theme. November’s Playday is going to be the same, but different.

Because it’s taking place on the second Sunday of November you’ll be thinking fireworks and bonfires, gunpowder, treason and plot, right? Well, actually, you’d be wrong. As we haven’t had an opportunity to mark the occasion until now, we’ll be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland.

Crafts will include colouring blow-ups of artwork by John Tenniel that was used in the first iterations of Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, making masquerade masks and crafting sculptures from play-dough. As well as these activities there will be the other regular diversions that Playdays are known for. And, as always, if you feel like dressing up, you’re free to do so! We’ve always found that putting on a costume helps to create a fun atmosphere and lets you show off your haberdashery skills. So if you feel like being Alice, the Mad Hatter, a White Rabbit or even the Queen of Hearts, then November’s Playday is the place to let yourself go!

If you want to join in then you can come to the Brighton Toy and Model Museum any time between two and five. Children's Play-days are held every second Sunday of each month. Admission is £5 per child and groups of up to 4 children can bring an adult for free, any additional adults would have to pay the regular price of adult admission.

Another event that we’ll be hosting in the environs of the Museum will be a performance by Harry’s Tricks, playing popular British and American music from the height of the Jazz Age. We’ll be opening our doors at 7pm November 21, tickets for the night’s performance will be £8.00 for adult audience members, £5.00 for children. To get a taste of what Harry’s Tricks we’ve added a little video. Seeing the band live is an altogether different experience, especially in the setting of the Museum.