The Autry Museum of the American West: PLAY! Exhibit Tour and Q&A

On November 19, 2017 the LA Chapter of the Children’s Media Association was lucky enough to facilitate a tour of the Autry Museum of the American West’s PLAY! Exhibit.


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Educational Curator, Sarah Wilson, along with Senior Curator, Dr. Carolyn Brucken and Exhibition Designer, Alban Cooper, took us through the whimsical exhibit that explores the role of toys and games across cultures and over time. Featuring dolls, board games, video games, outdoor activities, and more, the exhibition looks at the many ways children have played in the American West, the social values toys reveal, and how the West has inspired imagination.


Beyond the displays, we were able to get hands-on with games and toys of the past and present! From a Pac Man machine, to a life size play “house”, to gears and gizmos — there was a play experience for everyone’s taste.


We ended the day with an intimate Q&A discussion with the designers and curators of the PLAY! exhibit.  We learned about the concept and design that goes into creating such an exhibit from designer Alban Cooper. He told us about the tedious process it takes, which is often longer than the exhibit is available to the public! We also discussed the research about the benefits of play and how play has changed over time. We concluded our discussion with our thoughts about the future of play and where technology will take children’s play.