Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s
Gumby. Barbie. Slinky. Hot Wheels. Atari.
Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s will showcase many of the nation’s most popular toys and demonstrate how these toys reflected three decades of dynamic changes in American life.
Featuring nearly 500 memorable childhood favorites, from Barbie and Gumby to Hot Wheels and Atari, Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s will present the personal perspectives of children, parents, child-rearing experts, inventors, and advertisers that help to place the toys in historical context.
Developed in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society, this 8,000-square-foot exhibit will share the stories behind the iconic toys, including how they were developed and used to teach and entertain children.
As part of the exhibit, visitors will be able to enjoy hands-on examples of dozens of toys and numerous interactive areas throughout the exhibit.
Visitors can enjoy their favorite toys from the era, including everything from Erector sets and space-themed rockets to Troll dolls and early electronic games like Simon and Speak & Spell.
The History Center will also showcase artifacts and stories behind toys developed or produced in Western Pennsylvania, focusing on items from the Wolverine Toy Company and the Slinky.
The exhibit ends with a special vintage arcade and pinball gallery, courtesy of ReplayFX.
We’re celebrating the new Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s exhibit with a photo album dedicated to your favorite childhood toys! Take a minute to go back through your childhood photo albums and find a photo of you with your favorite toy to send to us. Check out the online photo gallery and submit your own photo here at the I Had That: Childhood Toys Photo Album.
- Several Smithsonian artifacts, including a Mr. Potato Head from the 1950s and a Digi-Comp1 computer game from the 1960s;
- Interactive living rooms from each era, including a 1960s living room modeled after a Barbie Dreamhouse;
- A hands-on “garage” featuring plastic bowling pins, Nerf footballs, and hula hoops;
- A play space filled with classic games, including “Rock’em Sock’em Robots,” “Barrel Of Monkeys,” and “Simon;”
- A staircase where visitors can race Slinkys; and
- Multimedia presentations and a toys trivia game.
Join the History Center for a variety of public programs featuring the Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s exhibit.
- March 10: 21+ After Hours Playtime
- March 17: 21+ After Hours Playtime
- March 20: Exhibit Tour: Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s
- March 24: 21+ After Hours Playtime
- March 30: Cooking with Chris – 1950s
- March 31: 21+ After Hours Playtime
- April 2: Behind the Scenes of Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s
- April 9: Vintage Pittsburgh
- April 10: Exhibit Tour: Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s
- April 13: Cooking with Chris – 1960s
- April 14: Workshop: The Wonderful Whatness of Toys
- April 17: Exhibit Tour: Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s
- April 21: Books in the ‘Burgh: Pittsburgh Toy Innovation
- April 24: Exhibit Tour: Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s
- May 13: Pinball Game Night
- May 14: The Play of Today
- May 15: Toys Exhibition Tour with Andy Masich
- May 18: Toys & Gender Roles Exhibit Tour
- May 19: Toys Exhibition Tour with Curator Emily Ruby
- May 19: 21+ After Hours Playtime
- May 25: Cooking with Chris – 1970s
- May 26: 21+ After Hours Playtime
For a complete list of upcoming programs, visit our events calendar.
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Toy exhibition at Heinz History Center offers fun and nostalgia”
- Tribune-Review: “Toy exhibit at Heinz History Center showcases many childhood favorites”
- Pittsburgh Magazine: “March of the Toys”
- KDKA-TV: “Heinz History Center’s New Exhibit Features Toy Retrospective”
- Pittsburgh Today Live: VIDEO: Toys Exhibit Tour with Andy Masich
- WTAE’s 4 the 412: “4 the 412: Heinz History Center Toys from the 50’s 60’s & 70’s”