Gallery talk on educational toys exhibition to be held April 3

March 24, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A gallery talk in conjunction with the exhibition “Playing to Learn, Learning as Play: 17th– to 19th–century ‘Play-things’ for Children” will be held at 2 p.m. and again at 4 p.m., on Sunday, April 3, in the Special Collections Library Exhibition Hall, 104 Paterno Library.

Sandra Stelts, curator of rare books and manuscripts, and guest curator Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, associate professor of education and women’s studies, will take the audience on a guided tour of the exhibition, which displays a variety of toys, games and puppets once owned by busy, active children. The materials range from geographic and moral board games to dissected maps or puzzles; from paper dolls to metamorphic turn-up books; and from antic harlequinades to German shadow-puppet theaters. The curators will seek to animate these objects further by talking about their histories and their connections to children across the centuries, many of them continuing today.

Reid-Walsh specializes in historical books for children and in girlhood studies. She has published extensively in a number of areas ranging from Barbie to Jane Austen to computer games to movable books. Her current research centers on paper-doll books and turn-up or metamorphic books, both of which are highlighted in the Special Collections display. Sandra Stelts oversees the Special Collections Library’s significant collections of children’s literature, including the holdings of the Allison-Shelley Collection of German literature in translation.

The exhibition will be on display through June 3. For additional information about the gallery talk, or if you anticipate needing physical accommodations or have questions about access, contact Stelts, 104 Paterno Library, at 814-863-5388.

  • vertical images of wooden play blocks showing segmented prints of colored illustrations of girl with various articles of clothing

    Dozens of 17th- to 19th-century children’s ‘play-things’ — including toys, games and books once owned by busy, active children — are on display through June 3 in the University Libraries’ Special Collections Library, first floor Paterno Library, University Park. A complementary website, Learning as Play, is at http://sites.psu.edu/play.

    IMAGE: Jill Shockey, Penn State University Libraries
Last Updated May 09, 2016