For nearly 18 months in 2017 and 2018, I led a project that was way more fun than anyone should be allowed to have at work. Developing the TOYS! exhibit in collaboration with 154 community partners, lenders, donors, supporters, sponsors, cheerleaders, and friends has been the highlight of my professional career. The exhibit is filled to the brim with more than 2,000 toys, ranging from a nearly 2,000-year-old Egyptian toy horse to some of the most popular toys of the 21st century, practically all donated, lent, or purchased from people right here in Grand Rapids.
One of the things I am most proud of is the GRPM team, from every department in our Museum, and from volunteers to trustees to community partners, who all came together to create this exhibit. Our shared goal was to create an exhibit that was truly for everyone in our community. By embracing the tenants of Universal Design for Learning and building them into the exhibit from the very beginning, we set out to create an experience that was fun, educational, and reminds us all that play is important. I believe the positive response from our community shows that we succeeded.
By Alex Forist, the GRPM’s Chief Curator.