Toy and Miniature Museum rekindles childhood treasures

Riley Mortensen

Fittingly placed on top of a hill, tucked safely inside the majestic house filled with 38 rooms and winding staircases lie the miniatures, marbles, and tinkering toys of childhood.

From the largest permanent marble collection in the United States, to a thrilling Barbie exhibit, there’s something for the kid in everyone.

From now until June 9, the Miniature Toy Museum is showing Just Colcord’s collection of curious objects, “Trash or Treasure.”

Filled with strange creatures, tiny robots, creative scenes and even a stop-motion films, this display will set one’s imagination on fire.

“I like to work with old things. I don’t want to kill anything, like chopping down a tree,” Colcord said. “I’m not trying to destroy things. I want to create and transform. I’m going to look for rusty screws. I’m looking for the things that are organic.”

Colcord spends his time searching the streets for old screws, coffee tins or whatever he can find. A reading display next to the exhibit tells of how Colcord collects, then catalogs the items and finally a story is born from the trash he recycles.

Colcord believes art is something you play with and engage in.

He had no formal art school training, but learned by trying to emulate his grandfather, who was a tinker and taught him about investing in himself.

Colcord’s display is interactive. Each display case has a list of hidden words or objects for eyes to spot and his short film shows his creations in their own little worlds.

“Myron,” Colcord’s first creature, knows all about the language and world of the street and called for the others to be built. Colcord believes each creation develops its own definitive personality, unique life experiences, friends and enemies within the world he’s crafted.

One of the creatures toward the end of the exhibit stands holding up a sign that says, “I am not worthless junk. I am an amazing and unique creature.”

Colcord works, like the rest of the museum, to bring out our inner childhood fantasies. From wizards to robots and the numerous scenes he has set up with his creatures, for them Colcord shows that toys can be made from anything with a little heart, some creativity, and some crafting tools.

The Miniature Toy Museum is a great way to spend a spring afternoon exploring the numerous collections offered. Admission to the museum is $7 and it is open every day except Monday and Tuesday.

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