May The Toys be With You opened in Worcester Museum & Art Gallery this weekend, and Fantha Trackers were on hand to experience the fabulous exhibition of the toys and collectibles that have made Star Wars one of the most enduring cinema franchises ever, and indeed have contributed towards the legacy George Lucas created all those years ago.
Originally put together in the spiritual home of UK toy collecting, Leicester (once the location of the Palitoy company), the exhibition has since been ‘on tour’ around the UK and has seen records being set for attendances in many of the venues. This is a particularly handy location being just two minutes walk from the Foregate Street train station.
The exhibition obviously focuses on the toys, and there is a wealth of exhibits which are divided up into clever ‘focus’ displays – so the ‘first twelve’ are featured, as are the final run of figures, but also international variants and a great display showing genuine figures and their fake counterparts. There are also some interesting prototypes of toys which never made it to production back in the 1980’s – a sandtrooper, a Bantha and a two-seater X-Wing!!!!
And for those of you that weren’t quick enough (or didn’t have the £600 or enough room in your house) there is a lovely display of the Haslab Sail Barge, complete with a vintage figure crew and skiff alongside – and it can be almost classed as vintage as the original patent and design dates back to the 1980’s.
There is also a beautiful collection of original cinema posters and other artwork, including some Ralph McQuarrie art and back to they toys with original photographs used in UK home shopping catalogues – obviously minus the drool and fingerprints from young fans.
There are also a lot of activities for children, with an interactive element which can be followed via a smartphone or tablet, some costumes and inflatable lightsabers for the budding cosplayer and some drawing and colouring stations.
As Saturday was the grand opening of the exhibition, we were also treated to several Stormtroopers to keep everyone in line and an appearance by the Mayor of Worcester who performed the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon to declare the exhibition open. An extra bonus for visitors on Saturday was an appearance by local Topps Official artist Marsha Parkins who was showcasing some of her excellent artwork and giving aspiring artists an insight in to her work. Some of Marsha’s artwork is also on sale from the exhibition shop, which is also stocked with goodies from badges to cookie jars, a lovely glossy programme and of course lightsabers.
The exhibition curator, collector and lifelong Star Wars fan Matt Fox was also on hand to chat to fans about his wonderful collection, and news filtered in on Saturday evening that over 1,300 people enjoyed the opening day, making it the museum’s best opening day ever (because Star Wars fans are the BEST!!!!!).
If you’re looking for something to occupy your little ones over the summer, or just fancy indulging your vintage curiosity, then head down – the exhibition continues until September 14th at Worcester Museum and Art Gallery and is FREE to get in. There are also several ‘special’ days planned in so check out their website for more information.