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Kids were a part of history, too

Sandy Historical Museum creates an interactive exhibit for children


by: POST PHOTO: JIM HART - Cheyenne Bogart, 2, of Sandy plays with toys of the past at an interactive exhibit in the Sandy Historical Museum.Look in any history book, and page after page will expound on the feats and activities of our forefathers and foremothers. Seldom written or spoken about is the fact that kids also were a part of history.

They had to live under stressful conditions when medical care was difficult to find or nonexistent. Pioneer education also was in its infancy, with teachers underpaid and under-supplied.

by: POST PHOTO: JIM HART - Ten-month-old Nova Bogart of Sandy is enthralled not only with the camera but also with toys of earlier generations. The toys, including the miniature covered wagon behind Nova, are part of an interactive exhibit at the Sandy Historical Museum.Even though some children died on the wagon trip from the East to the fabled Oregon Country, many survived and lived to tell their stories.

Along the way, they had toys to play with — most handmade, not purchased at Toys-R-Us, said Ann Marie Amstad, a volunteer at the Sandy Historical Society Museum in Sandy.

Amstad and her museum conservator, Myriam Macleod, a trained curator, have created an interactive exhibit where children can go back to the time when our country was expanding west as well as near the turn of the century to learn to play with the toys of days gone by.

They’re calling the exhibit “Children’s Place.”

The exhibit includes reproductions of the toys that kids of yesteryear played with when they weren’t doing chores, going to school or doing homework before going to bed.

That was their lifestyle, Amstad said, making it a far cry from today’s movies, malls, cell phones, cars and computers.

Macleod said the idea of “Children’s Place” is to offer something that kids can see and touch to give them a better understanding of history.

“When you walk into a museum, and you are a child, you are told not to touch things,” she said. “But we wanted them to have their own place where they can come and (touch historic reproductions).”

The museum in Sandy also has children’s educational programs where they teach classes that come from a number of area schools, but this exhibit is different. It’s an exhibit that will evolve with the addition of other toys such as tops, rag dolls and a cup and ball game as well as other wooden reproductions of period toys.

The exhibit, new to the museum, is designed for kids ages 1-12, and will begin to include some take-home activities.

“We want to make kids more a part of the museum,” Macleod said. “We want them to draw and do puzzles. We may even do contests at some point, just to get them involved in something exciting at the museum.”

For more information, call 503-668-3378 or visit sandyhistory.com. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.