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Toys & Childhood in 19th-Century America on view at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden
Mansion of Happiness Boardgame.
NEW YORK, NY.- Instructive, Entertaining and Moral: Toys & Childhood in 19th-Century America opened November 27, 2013 at The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden and will remain on view until April 6, 2014. This two-part rotating exhibit showcases not only popular toys of the 19th century, but it also explores what those toys can tell us about child development and play in America in the 1800s.

Emergent notions of child development in early nineteenth-century America emphasized that a properly nurtured child could be molded into a virtuous and noble citizen. Parents could use toys and play as one way to foster the education and moral character of their children. Objects on display in Part I include classic wooden toys, early board games, china head dolls, and educational toys. This first installation closes January 27. Part II, opening February 5, will feature vintage dolls, building toys, games of skill, and 19th-century technological toys.

The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum building was constructed in 1799 as a carriage house and converted into a “day hotel” in 1826. Today the museum transports visitors back to that Mount Vernon Hotel, a 19th-century country resort for New Yorkers escaping the crowded city below 14th Street. The Museum’s mission is to preserve and interpret travel, leisure, work and play in diverse antebellum New York.

Visitor Information: The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11am to 4pm. The exhibit is open concurrent with Museum hours and is included with admission. The Museum is located at 421 East 61st Street between First and York Avenues.

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