MoMA’s Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000 may be the world’s most engrossing toy box. Sadly, you can’t play with the 500+ items on exhibit July 29 through November 5, 2012, but to linger over each for a few minutes is enough to transport the viewer to her childhood and today dream of what a youth spent in another era may have looked like (spoiler alert: primary-colored with tubular steel furniture).
Inspired by Swedish design reformer and social theorist Ellen Key’s 1909 tome The Century of the Child, in which she declares children’s well-being and rights to be the defining mission of the next century, Juliet Kinchin, Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, amassed a collection of toys, books, posters, and furniture representing the path of design philosophy over the course of the last 100 years—no small feat. Of the exhibit, Kinchin says it will "hopefully engage people of any age."
She won’t have to worry about that. On our way out, a line was queuing for Philip Worthington’s interactive piece Shadow Monsters. A real-time transformation of everyday shadow puppets into growling monsters with spikes and teeth, it was hard to resist. The opportunity to climb into the larger-than-life Peter Opsvik Tripp Trapp chair is reason enough to visit.
The exhibition will be on view through November 5, 2012, at the Museum of Modern Art in the The Joan and Preston Robert Tisch Exhibition Gallery, sixth floor. And, courtesy of MoMA, visitors can download a family guide.