Timeline Of Toys At Naper Settlement’s ‘The Wish List’ Exhibit

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This holiday season, Naper Settlement presents “The Wish List: A Season of Holiday Catalog Dreams” exhibit, a timeline of holiday wishlists and toys throughout the 20th century. 

A Journey Through Time And Toys

Those visiting can take a blast into the past by walking through the history of some of the most famous gifts and the catalogs that promoted them.

“The inspiration for this exhibit was a nostalgic look back at catalogs,” said Naper Settlement Exhibits Team Leader, Dina Spoerl. “So we’ve got J.C. Penney, Montgomery Wards, and Sears catalog graphics all over the walls, and both exhibits going all the way back to 1941 and bringing all the way to the present day.”

The walls might tell the history, but the Settlement’s diverse collection of toys truly brings the past to life.

“The tie-in with the catalogs allowed us to show a whole bunch of wonderful things from our collection we have a huge toy collection here at Neighbor Settlement that is 150 years span,” said Spoerl. “We’ve got stuff on display that goes all the way back to the mid to late 19th century. And then we’ve got modern things as well.”

Family Fun And Nostalgic Memories

The exhibit includes a projector that shows nostalgic toy commercials throughout the decades. Kids can also write a letter to Santa and enjoy an interactive play area, where they can find toys from the past and present. 

“It’s lovely to be surrounded by all this wonderful nostalgia and joy,” said Spoerl. “ And I think people will get a kick out of seeing all the kinds of things that we have here.”

“The Wish List” exhibit is open Tuesday- Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. It will also be on display during Naper Settlement’s “Holy Joly Days” on December 12-16 from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. 

Naperville News 17’s Joe Kennedy reports.

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