So I just went to the Moma yesterday to see "Century of the Child: Growing Up by Design, 1900-2000." It's a comprehensive exhibit that interplays history with the common perception of children and childhood (it wasn't all fun and games for kids, especially in the early years where they were a key & cheap laborers). It walks through the early 20th century as kids started to become more of a focus – in some ways an unspoiled canvas on which adults could imprint our ideal of what society could be. The exhibit also highlights Montessori, and the idea that children have intrinsic ideas and capablities and can independantly interact with the world around them, and the toys and tools to support that school of thought. The exhibit takes you through both World Wars, Italian modernism, the Space Race (and the resulting toys), Disneyland, PeeWee's Playhouse, electronic games and japanimation. There's also a ginormous Stokke Trip Trapp chair! In all, it's a very cool exhibit, and kids will like it for its bright colored vehicles of fun, but there are many more layers and interesting questions that it makes you ponder as a consumer, a global citizen and a parent. It's a great one to visit, and if you can, try to hop on the tour. Runs from July 29-November 5, 2012.
Photo: Ladislav Sutner-Porototype for Build the Town Building Blocks 1940-43. @ the MOMA.