TOYS: The Inside Story

December 13, 2014–January 19, 2015 – Peek inside some well-known toys while exploring the basics of pulleys, cams, gears, linkages, and circuits.

Ever wonder just how that Hokey Pokey Elmo actually wiggles and dances?  Visit Toys: The Inside Story at the Montshire Museum of Science December 13, 2014 through January 19, 2015, and peek inside some well-known toys to discover the gadgets and gizmos that make them work.

This is a totally fun exhibition that examines the science and mechanics of how toys work with hands-on displays and tons of cool classic toys. First, explore the 14 different hands-on stations that illustrate the simple mechanisms in toys. From Jack-in-the-Box to Hokey Pokey Elmo®, explore the basics of pulleys, cams, gears, linkages and circuits. Then, experiment with the many different mechanical and electrical doodads that make toys so fun! TOYS is an exhibition the entire family will find irresistible.

TOYS: The Inside Story Exhibit Descriptions

Pulley Wall
Discover pulley power at this display that invites you to explore what a pulley is and how it behaves.

The Magic Behind the Silver Screen
Ever wonder how an Etch A Sketch® works? We’ve taken the toy apart to reveal its inner-workings. See how pulleys and wires guide the drawing tip.

Pattern Tracer
Test out your manual dexterity by tracing patterns on this gigantic Etch A Sketch®.

Big Pulley, Little Pulley
Create crazy optical illusions by connecting pulleys. Movable pulleys allow endless combinations and encourage discoveries about the relationship between pulley size, speed, and power.

Circuit Wall
These exhibits keep you current with the basics of circuits, switches, and circuit boards. Challenge yourself to keep a circuit open as you move a ring along an angled rod. Now you know why it takes a steady hand to win at the classic game Operation®!

Circuit Challenge
This giant circuit board is alive with fans, lights, and funny sounds. Can you make all of the circuits active at once?

Cam Wall
Cam you turn it? In this exhibit, rotating cams will make a frog jump, a gator bite, or a firefly flash. Look inside the classic Dr. Duck® toy to see how a cam lets him walk the walk.

Linkages Wall
Many toys include linkages that connect moving parts. Operate a Hungry Hippo® and a model of the inner workings of the charming Pudgy the Piglet® to see how you or a motor can turn a simple motion into one that’s more complex.

Gears Wall
You see gears in just about any machine with moving parts, including lots of popular toys! Gears are wheels with teeth. If two gears mesh, and you turn one, the other turns. But that’s just the start of what a gear can do.

Gears at Play
Movable gears on a big table can set all sorts of magical things in motion. Can you figure out how to use different sized gears to make the carousel or twirling ballerinas spin as fast as possible?

Big Gear, Little Gear
Crank it up and see how an industrial- size gear train can change the speed at which a shaft rotates.

What’s Inside the Hokey Pokey?
Hokey Pokey Elmo® loses his red fur and his plastic skin to reveal the source of his killer dance moves. Check out the motor, cam, circuit board, and switches that make Elmo dance.

What’s Inside the Marching Machine?
You can see right through Mr. Machine®, a classic toy from the 60’s made of clear plastic. The accompanying video highlights some of the linkages and cams that make him move. (See the original 1960 Mr. Machine® commercial, too!)

What’s Inside Jack-in-the-Box?
What makes Jack jump? Turn the crank on a real Jack-in-the-Box and watch live by video camera as the worm gear and cam mechanism turn him loose.