McCord Museum’s 8th annual Toys exhibition

Topsy-Turvy Storyland: An Adventure of Discovery to Break the Spell of the Fairy Carabosse

Children ages 3 to 9, and their companions, are invited to explore the world of timeless fairy tales that have charmed generations of little ones: Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Little Mermaid and Cinderella. In an enchanting setting that will delight young and old alike, visitors can feast their eyes on numerous toys and objects from the Museum’s Decorative Arts collection. Ideal for the holidays and winter school break, the exhibition transports visitors to Storyland, a world turned upside down by an evil spell cast by the Fairy Carabosse.

Welcome to the home of fairy tale characters
The realm of good King Dagobert has been buzzing with excitement for days, getting ready for the grand ball to celebrate the king’s birthday. Everyone is invited—everyone, except the Fairy Carabosse. Furious at having been left off the guest list, she casts a terrible spell on the kingdom so no one can join the party.

Suddenly, characters and objects from the stories are all mixed up. Little Red Riding Hood’s basket and cape have vanished, Hansel has lost his pebbles and found himself in a different story, and Jack is struggling to find his magic harp and hen that lays the golden eggs. But that’s not all! The Little Mermaid cannot locate her friend the fish or her shells, Prince Charming has been thrown into another story, and Cinderella has misplaced her glass slipper.

Topsy-Turvy StorylandTo break Carabosse’s spell and enable King Dagobert’s ball to go ahead as planned, children must spot the ten characters and objects that have been put into other stories. When visitors enter the exhibition, they are asked to use their powers of observation as they walk through the forest and peek into the windows of Grandmother’s house (Little Red Riding Hood), enter the house of the wicked witch (Hansel and Gretel), wander above the clouds (Jack and the Beanstalk), explore under the sea (The Little Mermaid) and stroll through the magnificent palace ballroom (Cinderella). Once the spell has been broken, the visit ends in the “magic library,” an immersive reading room that invites one and all to peruse fascinating fairy tales from here and around the world.

“This year’s extraordinary exhibition occupies more space than it has in the past, offering visitors a look at nearly 150 artefacts from our collection of toys and decorative arts. These objects, several of which are being displayed for the very first time, have been lovingly restored by our expert conservators and arranged in a magical decor with a touch of nostalgia. Parents and children alike are sure to enjoy this fun and exciting treasure hunt through the world of fairy tales,” notes Suzanne Sauvage, President and Chief Executive Officer of the McCord Museum.

Among the objects from the Museum’s collection on display are antique storybooks, an automaton doll created by Léopold Lambert (19th century), and a life-size carousel horse (early 20th century). Texts aimed at adults provide background information on the fairy tales and details about the artefacts on display.

Activities especially for children
The exhibition also includes a dress-up area and space for playing games like bowling, memory, blocks and bird watching, to name a few. Entrance to the museum is always free for children ages 12 and under.

For more information: 514-398-7100

McCord Museum
690 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec  H3A 1E9

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