Thursday, March 25, 2021


Troy Historical Village

If you are in Metro Detroit make some time to swing by the historical village in Troy, Michigan to check out a special exhibit that toy lovers young and old are sure to appreciate. Until April 30, 2021 the Troy Historic Village will be showcasing a collection of toys and games highlighting fun ways to play from the last two hundred years (1821 - 2021). From original Kenner Star Wars action figures and steel-made Tonka Trucks that were the type of toys I played with as a kid to corn husk dolls and wood carved checker sets that the children of Michigan's early settlers had fun with there is a lot to geek out about in this Play at the Village exhibit. Only on display for a limited time get over to the Troy Historical Village before they pack up the toys to prepare for a summer full of activities.

The Historic Village is located at 60 W. Wattles Road in the community of Troy, Michigan. Located seven miles north of the City of Detroit, it is conveniently accessible off I-75 from the Big Beaver Road ramps. The site consists of eleven historic structures ranging from an 1820s era log cabin to a 1900s era church. Take a casual stroll through the exhibit by yourself during normal hours (Monday - Friday from 10 am - 3pm) or sign up for a guided evening toy tour led by one of the historical village's docents. 

Take a walk down memory lane by visiting these structures filled with toys and games throughout the Troy Historic Village:


Troy Historic Village

Just two hundred years ago Michigan was frontier territory. Life was tough but families still made time for some fun. Just like today they often spent some time after dark having family game nights. Playing cards and checkers were two popular recreational activities in the 1820s.

Children played with toys that could be made from the area's natural resources and that taught them life skills. Miniature wood carved tool sets and corn husk and cloth dolls would have been common toys during that time. It was all about what a family could make themselves when it came to toys for these pioneers.


troy historic village

The old Poppleton School is full of examples of school yard games . Games like Blind Man's Bluff, Drop the Handkerchief, and Fox & Geese are explained to visitors. How do you think the games school kids played in the late 1800s are different from what goes on in playgrounds today?


tin toys

The village's general store is filled with toys ranging from 1900 to the present. Get a close up look at classic tin toys, a vintage train set, and a LEGO Death Star model among numerous other wonderful things.

lego death star


The mid-1800s Greek Revival architecture of the Caswell House is complimented by a huge assortment of action figures and dolls. Remember the Beanie Baby craze! There are a whole lot of them to see here.

troy historic village


Take a glimpse of patents from popular childhood toys of the 20th Century including Mr. Potato Head, Optimus Prime and the Rubik's Cube. These are some interesting drawings to take a look at and show the amount of engineering that go into making toys. A nice STEM moment during this exhibit which is both entertaining and educational.

toy patents


The old church filled with beautiful stain glass windows also is full examples of toy advertising from 1900 - 2000. Remember flipping through the pages of the Sears catalog while creating a Christmas list for Santa? My grandmother always had us go through the catalog and let us pick out a holiday gift from it as I'm sure generations of kids had done. Now print catalogs have been replaced by web sites and social media apps. Step back in time to enjoy examples of old print ads from past decades. Think about how the marketing styles and types of toys changed through the decades.

toy ads


This home for the church's reverend and his family has been stocked with board games. A family game night dream! Learn the history of some popular games and reminisce about ones you played as a child yourself. Share with today's youth that games they thought were new were around when you were there age or show them a game you loved, like Bermuda Triangle, that isn't popular anymore.

family game night

For more information about this special exhibit go to or call 248-524-3570. This history geek happens to be on the Board of Directors for this non-profit organization so if you stop by let them know this dad blogger sent you their way. Go on out and PLAY AT THE VILLAGE

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