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Current Exhibit

Let's Play

Extended through November 26, 2022

Let’s Play is the latest exhibit at the Smoky Hill Museum. It has been extended through November 26. This is not a story just about toys but about local Salina children and how they found ways to play. Come find out what Harry, Benny, Mary, Flossie, Diane, Dick, Devere, Jerry and Marilyn did for fun. See how play evolved at the turn of the 20th century as their story is presented alongside whimsical illustrations by Salina native John Keeling. Keeling is a gifted illustrator and watercolorist.

Rain or shine and year-round, there should always be a time for play. Play is fun, exciting, informative, and engaging. There are numerous reasons why play is essential not only to kids but also to adults. It helps us connect with those around us, solve problems, learn new skills, release stress, and so much more. Today, many understand its importance, but why and how we play has shifted over time. With each generation, new technology has ushered in new forms of play. But what has not changed is the innate desire to have fun.

Specifically, the exhibit looks at the power of play through the lives of local children from the late 1890s to the 1950s as they explore their worlds through various types of play – creative, physical, competitive, etc.

In the exhibit, children can bring out their inner characters in a performance area complete with backdrops and costumes for dramatic play. There are Montessori boards that encourage kids to use their senses.  Visitors can say what they think about play on a response wall. There is even a "Let’s Play Challenge" to take home.

This look at play shows that imagination does not need computer-based technology to have fun. Toys may change, but people will always play.


Special thanks to the following exhibit sponsors: