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Designed to entertain as well as educate, changing exhibitions in the 2,000 square foot gallery space in the History Center feature diverse topics that speak to the area's multi-faceted history and interests.

Giddy Up: Children Take the Reins


THIS "TOUCHABLE'" EXHIBITION is on view through September 15, 2019

American, Wonder Horse, spring rocking horse, circa 1940
American, Wonder Horse, spring rocking horse, circa 1940

PMH invites visitors to bask in the joyful ambiance of quintessential childhood amusements in a uniquely “touchable” exhibition, Giddy Up: Children Take the Reins. Curated by local collector and conservator Lourinda Bray, the exhibition is on view through September 15, 2019.

The PMH galleries are filled with a dizzying array of more than thirty-five smaller scaled carousel horses and exotic creatures that visitors of all ages will be able to see – and touch. An enchanting photo booth features a double-seat Polar Bear from an English carousel by J.R. Anderson, circa 1920, that children and adults can climb on for a special keepsake photo.

A selection of ride-on horses/animals that rock, bounce, and/or roll, along with a wide variety of animals and carousel themed toys, are also on view. Today we might call these the ‘interactive’ toys and amusements of yesteryear. They were specifically designed to spark children’s imaginations, encouraging youngsters to “take the reins and create their own unique stories and fictional characters as they pretended to be their favorite cowboy film stars or other fictional characters.

Giddy Up is the Museum’s second exhibition devoted solely to items from Lourinda Bray’s collection. Her Running Horse Studio in Irwindale, CA houses her nearly unimaginable menagerie, along with carousel art, miniatures, toys, and more in 7,000 square feet of merry-go-round memorabilia. Here she carefully restores figures for other collectors and for operational carousels, as well as pieces in her own collection, which spans the history of carousels from the mid-nineteenth century to modern day, with many examples from the “Golden Age of Carousels,” 1861-1920.

upcoming free days

American, Donald Duck shoo fly rocker, circa 1940
American, Donald Duck shoo fly rocker, circa 1940

This year (2019) marks the 148th anniversary of the modern carousel in the United States. National Carousel Day – Thursday, July 25th – commemorates the day in 1871 that William Schneider of Davenport, Iowa, was issued the first American patent for a carousel. In honor of the occasion the Museum will offer free admission to all visitors on July 25. Other free days and special programs related to Giddy Up include an Open House on May 5, MOTA (Museums of the Arroyo) Day on May 19, and Yahoo!! Happy Birthday Pasadena! on June 30.