December 19, 2017
CONTACT: Christa McCay
Marietta Museum of History
MARIETTA - The classic metal and wood structures that have populated playgrounds for most of the twentieth century—towering metal slides, giant jungle gyms, whirling merry-go-rounds, bouncing seesaws—have become beloved artifacts of childhood. They are part of the personal histories of most Americans over the age of 30, as well as a tangible piece of the country’s cultural and industrial design heritage. In celebration of this heritage, Once Upon a Playground opens September 1st at the Marietta Museum of History.
Once Upon a Playground offers a visual tribute to these vanishing playgrounds of our past, celebrating their place in American culture and the collective memories of generations. Co-curated by Brenda Biondo, author of Once Upon a Playground: A Celebration of Classic American Playgrounds, 1920–1975 (University Press of New England, 2014), and Carol Johnson, recently retired curator of photography at the Library of Congress, the exhibition combines contemporary photographs of classic equipment, vintage images of playground scenes from the Library of Congress’ collections, and images from period playground catalogs and other ephemera. By bringing together these diverse sources, the exhibition highlights a playground vernacular that developed over decades, while providing historical context and cultural insight.
Playground equipment often reflected the popular culture of the times, as geometric metal and wood apparatus of the 1920s and 1930s gradually gave way to pieces in the shape of cowboys and Indians, storybook characters, rocket ships and satellites, motorcycles, and geodesic domes.
Unfortunately, as communities have renovated their parks and schoolyards, classic playground equipment has virtually disappeared from many parts of the country. Yet these icons of childhood still trigger fond memories for countless Americans and remain a ubiquitous product of America’s industrial design heyday.
Exhibition: Once Upon a Playground
Host Organization: Marietta Museum of History
Runs: Through January 6th, 2018
Gallery Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am to 4pm
Location: 1 Depot Street, Marietta, GA 30060
Admission: $5 to $7
Contact: 770-794-5710 www.mariettahistory.org
The Museum uses ordinary artifacts to tell the extraordinary stories of Marietta and Cobb County and is the top-rated Museum and one of the Top Five things to do in Marietta on TripAdvisor. Galleries and exhibits cover topics such as military history, home life throughout the centuries, technology and local businesses from our past. Current temporary exhibits include: Shoppin’ Southern Style: Fashions from the mid-20th century and More than Planes: Aviation in Cobb County.
Once Upon a Playground is organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, MO.
The exhibit is sponsored locally by Traton Homes, Inc. and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.