The Friday Five: Chris Weston
What inspired you to open The Hamilton Toy Museum?
I like to visit toy museums when I travel; The Strong in Rochester, NY and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis are stand-outs. There wasn’t a similar museum in our area so my wife and I decided to create something ourselves. We envisioned a place where toy history is preserved and also where kids can come to play, build, and use their brains.
Does the Museum offer educational programming?
We do! While we’re only open to the public on Saturdays, we open the Museum for school field trips, daycare groups, and other outings. We set up special interactive stations for the kids, based on their age. The kids love it.
What are a few of your favourite pieces in the collection?
There’s such a variety. I’m partial to some of the early Marvel and DC Comics superhero items, myself. We have an impressive LEGO cruise ship that contains 60,000 pieces, a terracotta horse and cart from 800 BC, and original LEGO packaging artwork by a Hamilton artist. It’s nice to be able to feature items with a local tie-in. We have some nice pieces from Canadian toy manufacturers including Reliable Toy Company, Irwin, and London Toy.
What’s been the biggest surprise with curating a museum?
The ability to actually do it! We receive toy donations from all over Canada. It’s always interesting to see what people collect. We are lucky to have the support of our community. Through social media, word-of-mouth, and media support, we’ve gained a lot of visibility. People call us when they think they have something of interest.
My wife and I both have other careers and we have a family. Curating a museum is a significant addition to our lives.
What’s next for the Museum?
We are happy with how things are operating. We love being part of a field-trip experience and seeing families stop in on a regular basis. It’s a labour of love. I wouldn’t change anything.
You can learn more at The Hamilton Toy Museum website.
Five questions, one fascinating person – look into the minds of movers and shakers in the nostalgia, game, play, or toy industry.