The Gen XY Lifestyle

MINT Museum of Toys Singapore launches UNBOX Presents: Toy Figurines

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UNBOX Presents: Toy Figurines is a new Toy Figurines Exhibition that looks to uncover generational shifts through stories that defined playtime.

MINT Museum of Toys Singapore and their new exhibition UNBOX Presents: Toy Figurines looks to narrate stories about the toys that defined playtime. The exhibition opens from 28 May, 2022.

According to the organiser, the exhibition will “…showcase the various toys and figurines that underpinned and sparked generational shifts, from the evolution of gender norms portrayed by Barbie, G.I. Joe and Bratz to the epitome of transmedia storytelling across the Monster High ecosystem.”

With nuggets of history embedded in each toy figurine, UNBOX exhibitions such as these reach out to the inner child of the visitor, allowing them to rediscover and reflect on a past once lived. Also a creative ground for up and coming curators to explore alternative narratives, UNBOX helps to bridge the gap between toys, art and history.

History and generational shifts are both depicted and made more understandable through toys. These toys and their roles – in the context of society – help us learn better about history through the lens of childhood experiences.

Socio-cultural shifts across decades become apparent when surveyed alongside consumer trends within the toy industry. Staying culturally relevant is key to thriving; generational toys, therefore, provide clues to changing societal expectations till today.

UNBOX curational team led by General Manager, Mr Christopher Ho

The MINT Museum of Toys reiterates the need for society to look back and understand the journey transpired till today.

Toys echo societal voices, and at the same time, facilitate the progressive changes in society

UNBOX curational team

As the UNBOX curational team explains, Barbie is one example of witnessing a change. During the postwar years, Barbie helped little girls break away from the domesticated worldviews of earlier paper dolls. Rapid globalisation required adapting the fashion doll for newer markets, which gave rise to the queen of Japanese dress-up dolls, Licca Chan. The definition of womanhood shifted and expanded as the world got comfortable with the Internet and this led to greater representation with more inclusive toys. The racially-diverse Bratz dolls replaced Barbie’s single-tone and sweet personas with edgy personalities that help to empower young girls.

Additionally, the rapid spread of global pop culture distributed and amplified by the Internet gave toymakers the opportunity to dabble in once-taboo areas, such as goth and LGBTQ+. This helped brands and toys such as Monster High and Rainbow High become successful. The narratives of G.I. Joe, He-Man and the Masters of Universe, and M.A.S.K travelled a similar course, in the past.

Pricing and access

Pop-up exhibition admission tickets to view the exhibition can be purchased online via their online ticketing platform from SGD 15. The exhibition is available for viewing from 28 May to 28 November 2022.

Image credit: MINT Museum of Toys Singapore