Pasadena Museum of History invites visitors to bask in the joyful ambiance of quintessential childhood amusements in a uniquely “touchable” exhibition, Giddy Up: Children Take the Reins.
The PMH galleries will be filled with a dizzying array of more than 35 smaller-scaled carousel horses and exotic creatures that visitors of all ages will be able to see and touch. An enchanting photo booth will feature a double-seat Polar Bear from an English carousel by J.R. Anderson, circa 1920, that children and adults can climb on for a special keepsake photo.
A selection of ride-on horses/animals that rock, bounce, and/or roll, along with a wide variety of animals and carousel-themed toys, will also be on view. Today we might call these the ‘interactive’ toys and amusements of yesteryear. They were specifically designed to spark children’s imaginations, encouraging youngsters to “take the reins" and create their own unique stories and fictional characters as they pretended to be their favorite cowboy film stars or other fictional characters.
Giddy Up is PMH's second exhibition devoted solely to items from curator Lourinda Bray’s collection. Her Running Horse Studio in Irwindale, CA houses her nearly unimaginable menagerie, along with carousel art, miniatures, toys, and more in 7,000 square feet of merry-go-round memorabilia. Here she carefully restores figures for other collectors and for operational carousels, as well as pieces in her own collection, which spans the history of carousels from the mid-nineteenth century to modern day, with many examples from the “Golden Age of Carousels,” 1861-1920.
The museum's galleries are open Wednesday-Sunday, 12:00-5:00pm. The exhibition is free the first Wednesday of each month to people who live, work, or go to school in Pasadena and surrounding communities (Community Wednesdays).