Playing at War: Children's Civil War Era Toys


10th Annual Eclectic Collector Series

Playing at War: Children's Civil War Era Toys from the Collection of Greg McMahon

Ambrotype of a boy with a toy musket.Study Gallery

Through January 10, 2012

Opening reception on July 8, 5 - 8 pm, in conjunction with downtown Little Rock's 2nd Friday Art Night


Greg McMahon, one of Arkansas’s premier private collectors of historic photographic images, began his collection of early 19th century children’s toys when he came across an ambrotype of a boy holding a musket. The photograph was offered along with the actual musket pictured. After that McMahon began looking for both images of children with their toys and the toys themselves.


The actual toy musket pictured in the ambrotype above.During the early 19th century, toy weapons were hugely popular for girls and boys. Little muskets, pistols, swords and drums were crafted from wood and used in mock battles and hunts. This exhibit features many of those toys—from a Little Enfield (child-sized version of the 1862 Model British Enfield rifled musket) to a Civil War era wooden drum with drumsticks.