The Frazier History Museum, known for its exclusive partnership with the British Royal Armouries and exceptional collection of arms and armor, is soon going to be known for something else– toy soldiers.
The Frazier Museum’s rare collection of more than 12,000 toy soldiers, which portrays time periods ranging from Ancient Egypt through World War II, will be on display to the public starting December 10. The collection, some of which previously belonged to Malcolm Forbes, is expected to be one of the largest toy soldier collections on public display in the U.S. The Frazier’s diverse collection consists of toy soldiers produced in the late 18th century through modern day, and includes one of the largest St. Petersburg Collections® on the display in the country, as well as Haffner, M.I.M., Lucotte, Britains, Fouille and Marklin models.
Earlier this year, the Frazier Museum announced its new vision to become the region’s premier history institution, the result of a year-long strategic planning process. The museum decided to shift its focus to become a more comprehensive history museum and dramatically lessen its focus on guns and weapons. The toy soldier installation, which is permanent, is part of more substantial changes to the museum’s galleries to this end.
Currently, Frazier Museum staff are cataloguing the vast toy soldier collection, as well as designing the integration of the tiny models throughout its permanent galleries, which cover more than 1,000 years of world and American history. “These little figures depict real historical events and people,” said Burnside. “We wanted to create a unique and educational way to display them, so they’ll be exhibited side by side with genuine artifacts.”
Much of the toy soldier collection originally belonged to donor and lifelong toy soldier aficionado Charles W. Stewart of Frankfort, Ky., who decided to donate the collection so it could be enjoyed by the public. Toy soldier collector Orson Munn of Long Island, N.Y., has contributed a significant collection of flat toy soldiers. The Frazier’s collection continues to expand.
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