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The Napa Valley Museum displays dangerous toys of bygone days

The Napa Valley Museum is displaying the most dangerous toys of all time at its ‘Dangerous Games’ exhibit.

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napa valley museum dangerous toys exhibit

The Napa Valley Museum in Yountville, California is showcasing the dangerous children’s toys of days gone by at its ‘Dangerous Games’ exhibit, which runs through February 13. ‘Dangerous Games: Treacherous Toys We Loved As Kids’ is an original exhibition dedicated to toxic toys such as lawn darts, Creepy Crawlers, the Slip ‘N Slide and Clackers.

“It’s hard to believe so many of us survived childhood, given the treacherous, toxic, yet tantalizing toys we played with as kids,” the Napa Valley Museum said.

Describing the toys of bygone days, the museum said kids “dove head-first onto slippery sheets of plastic” and removed bugs from “plastic goop in searing hot molds”.

Children also “dodged skull-piercing flying arrows” and “played with explosives, molten hot glass, dangerous dyes – even radioactive material – all in the name of good clean fun”.

Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab

napa valley museum dangerous toys exhibit

Napa Valley Museum’s exhibition includes a ‘Back to the Backyard’ collection of hula hoops and other hands-on toys, as well as dart guns and Red Ryder BB guns. It also features an original audio tour narrated by Disneyland Resort announcer Bill Rogers and written by Napa Valley Museum executive director Laura Rafaty.

“The backyard used to be a world of adventure all its own,” she told Napa Valley Register. “My big takeaway from this is how different things are today from when a lot of us were kids, when we could just run wild.”

“Our parents didn’t know where we were all day,” Rafaty added. “We just needed to come back in time for dinner.”

Discussing the Super Elastic Bubble Plastic toy from the 1970s, she said: “The problem was the plastic contained toxic chemicals, and if you breathed in the fumes you would get high.”

Also making an appearance at the exhibition is Alfred Carlton Gilbert’s Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, a 1950s science kit that was said to contain uranium ore.

Images: Napa Valley Museum

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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