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Special Exhibitions

 

Introduction

The Legend of Hong Kong Toys

 

Hong Kong may be a small city, but it was once the world's largest toy exporter. High-quality, low-cost toys drew international brands to the city looking for factories to carry out production. Meanwhile, local toy manufacturers strived to create their own brands and tapped into overseas markets with premium products, taking Hong Kong-made toys to the world's arena. When it all started, Hong Kong was virtually unheard of and toys marked "Made in Hong Kong" were even sent back. As Hong Kong gradually built a reputation, however, "Made in Hong Kong" became a guarantee of good quality.

While Hong Kong manufactures toys for children across the globe, the children of Hong Kong play with toys from all over the world. The city's open market allows all sorts of toys to leave their footprints over the course of history, staging a prime platform to showcase trends and changes in toy manufacture. Upon a closer look at these toys you will find that many have evolved over the years, yet their intrinsic idea of ‘play' remains timeless, allowing toys to continuously bring joy to children in contemporary ways.

In light of the above, the Hong Kong Museum of History has partnered with the Hong Kong Toys Council and the Toys Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong to organize this exhibition. By showcasing around 2,000 (sets of) toys familiar to Hong Kong people or made locally, the exhibition explores the evolution of toys in the past century and the way shrewd industrialists transformed Hong Kong into a toy kingdom. The exhibition also examines how the entertainment industry in the forms of animation, comics, cinema and television influences trends and production of toys, and the role in which Hong Kong partook. Moreover, the exhibition illustrates functions of toys beyond fun and play, and the way toys adapted to changing times. The exhibition venue shall feature a play area which will surely encourage children to immerse in play and at the same time ponder the meaning of toys.

 

Lectures on "The Legend of Hong Kong Toys" Exhibition

 

Pre-war dress-up paper doll, printed in Mainland China, 1930s.
Collection of Mr Reo Lau

Wind-up celluloid cowboy toy, made in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952.
Collection of Mr Yeung Wai-pong

Yellow ducks, early plastic toy made in Hong Kong, 1948.
Forward Winsome Industries Ltd. collection

Clay toy cookery set, made in Mainland China, 1950s.
Hong Kong Museum of History collection

Tin dogs, manufactured by China Can Co. (H.K.) Ltd., 1950s.
Hong Kong Museum of History collection

Atomic Bulldozer, the first battery-operated toy made in Hong Kong, manufactured by Plastic Manufacturing Co., 1950s.
Collection of Ms Angela Gardner

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Coach model, Lesney Products (creator of the Matchbox brand), 1953.
Universal Group collection

Pump-driven plastic walking lion, made in Hong Kong, 1960s.
Hong Kong Heritage Museum collection

Battery-operated toy astronaut, manufactured by Kader Industrial Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong, 1960s.
Collection of Mr Yeung Wai-pong

Barbie dolls, 1959-2016.
MATTEL collection
©MATTEL. All Rights Reserved.

Star Wars 3.75" action figures, released by Kenner Products of the US and manufactured by Smile Industries Ltd. of Hong Kong, 1977-1980.
Collection of Mr Christopher Law
© & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

Mobile Suit Gundam models, made in Japan, 2010s.
Bandai Namco Asia Co., Ltd. collection
© SOTSU・SUNRISE

"Gardener" figures designed by Michael Lau, 1999 onwards.
Collection of Mr Michael Lau

2/3 – 15/5/2017

Admission Fee
Mondays, Wednesdays to Sundays
Standard: HK$10
Concession: HK$5 (for people with disabilities (and one accompanying carer), full time students and senior citizens aged 60 or above)
Group (20 persons or above):HK$7

Free for Museum Pass holders

Ticketing Rules

Venue
Special Exhibition Gallery, Hong Kong Museum of History

Jointly presented by
Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Hong Kong Toys Council
Toys Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong

Jointly organised by
Hong Kong Museum of History
Hong Kong Toys Council
Toys Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong