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New 'Toothy Toys exhibit opens at National Museum of Dentistry Nov. 6

Sept. 28, 2010
Rediscover your childhood in "Open Wide! Toothy Toys that made us smile."
BALTIMORE, MD (Sept. 28) — Take a trip into the not-so-distant past to discover childhood toys with a toothy twist. Open Wide! Toothy Toys that Made Us Smile will be on view at the National Museum of Dentistry November 6, 2010 through January 30, 2011. From Play Doh’s Dr. Drill-n-Fill to an Evel Kneivel rocket toothbrush complete with launching ramp, see games, dolls, puzzles and character toothbrushes that will take you back to the days you were missing your two front teeth.

Open Wide! Toothy Toys that Made Us Smile features more than 50 objects, ranging from the original wind-up Yakity Yak chatterteeth created in 1949 to Cabbage Patch dolls with teeth from the 1980s. The exhibit also features comic books, a playable Tooth Invaders video game from 1981, and a hands-on game corner where visitors can try their hand at classic dental themed games like Crocodile Dentist and Mr. Mouth.

“Times change, and toys reveal what was important to us during certain times in our history,” said National Museum of Dentistry Executive Director Jonathan Landers. For example, Hopalong Cassidy cowboy toothbrushes were all the rage in the early1950s when Westerns were popular. Westinghouse made a build-your-own rocket toothbrush during the Space Race in the 1950s. Barbie found a career as a dentist in the 1990s. “Many of these tooth-related toys are rare windows into our past, while others are still being played with by kids (and adults) today. They all show the creative ways we’ve encouraged children to care for their teeth over the years.”

This special exhibit is drawn from the National Museum of Dentistry’s 40,000-object collection of dental treasures and the toy collection of guest curator Elaine M. Miginsky, DDS.

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