Tapadh Leibh, Dùn Èideann. Thank you, Edinburgh. I spent a 24 hour period in Edinburgh. I had gone to Scotland to see Glasgow, but it would be foolish not to see the capital. I am very happy I did, as it is a fine place to go for a visitor. A lot to see, and pockets of real world when you strip away some of the tourist veneer.
The Museum of Childhood along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh is free. That is the first thing. The ladies that run it are friendly and helpful. If you like a collection that is a free spirit and just lets you examine some fun things, and sometimes thoughtful, you may like this one very much.
I knew at once when I saw the game, that Milton Bradley had taken the idea of this boardgame, and renamed it Chutes and Ladders. That along with Candy Land, became Milton Bradley’s introduction into board games for the very young. And here was the game, actually British in roots. These are post-Froebel playthings, to educate children. Just as Mother Goose rhymes were a way of introducing concepts and strengthening mnemonic strategies (memorization) in another day and age.
Along with this are the very sexist playthings that will help girls into womanhood (dolls, minature playhouses, kitchen items, etc.) as opposed to those which will lead their male counterparts (erector sets, tinkertoys, sports, etc.). Amazing how the GI Joe dolls of the 70s and the Masters of the Universe changed some of that. Legos too.
In one room there was wonderful student artwork of many ages. It was all well done. I especially liked the Candice Stephenson work, which was so well done for a child of 15. All of the work was of high quality and displayed simply and effectively.
It’s funny how the world changes. There was a display of little gollywogs. It seemd so alien now, One appears with the little Campbell soup looking little girl (above, right). To some it might appear as naiveté, to others plain old racist.
Looking at the Lone Wranger stuff reminded me of the old Mad magazine cartoon, which I have carried in my head for years. Two guys from Saturday morning TV always seemed ridiculous to me as a kid: Superman and the Lone Ranger. Superman, at least always seemed to camp it up, take it as a joke. But the Lone Ranger with his pedantic, kimosavee thing, yuck. The cartoon, not part of the exhibition, seemed to be a fitting end to him. Although boomerangs with a certain racism.
Tags: Candice Stephenson work, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Edinburgh, gollywogs, Lone Ranger, Museum of Childhood, Snakes and Ladders, The Adventures of Charlie Chaplain, The Royal and Most Pleasant Game of Goose, The Royal Mile