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Largest display of toy soldiers in US showing at Frazier

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By Cheryl Molstad

Frazier History Museum
The Frazier History Museum, known for its exclusive partnership with the British Royal Armouries and exceptional collection of arms and armor, is soon going to be known for something else— toy soldiers. The Frazier Museum’s rare collection of more than 12,000 toy soldiers, which portrays time periods ranging from Ancient Egypt through World War II, is expected to be one of the largest toy soldier collections on public display in the U.S.
The new collection will be on permanent display starting Saturday, as part of a special family event, called “Toys, Trees & Traditions,” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is also in conjunction with the museum’s “Holidays Around the World” tree display, which celebrates holiday traditions found throughout Louisville’s diverse communities.
The Frazier’s diverse toy soldier collection, some of which previously belonged to Malcolm Forbes, consists of toy soldiers produced in the late 18th century through modern day, and includes one of the largest St. Petersburg Collections® on display in the country, as well as Haffner, M.I.M., Lucotte, Britains, Fouille and Marklin models. 
“We’re very excited about this amazing collection. There’s an element of nostalgia and childhood playfulness to toy soldiers that’s undeniable,” said Frazier Museum Executive Director Madeleine Burnside. “It allows us to show a broader range of history and do it in a very approachable way.”
Earlier this year, the Frazier Museum announced its new vision to become the region’s premier history institution, the result of a year-long strategic planning process. The museum decided to shift its focus to become a more comprehensive history museum and dramatically lessen its focus on guns and weapons. The toy soldier installation is part of more substantial changes to the museum’s galleries to this end.
Frazier Museum staff have catalogued the vast toy soldier collection and designed the integration of the tiny models throughout its permanent galleries, which cover more than 1,000 years of world and American history.
“These little figures depict real historical events and people,” said Ms. Burnside. “We wanted to create a unique and educational way to display them, so they’ll be exhibited side by side with genuine artifacts.”
Much of the toy soldier collection originally belonged to donor and lifelong toy soldier aficionado Charles Stewart of Frankfort, Ky., who decided to donate the collection so it could be enjoyed by the public. Toy soldier collector Orson Munn of Long Island, N.Y., contributed a significant collection of flat toy soldiers. The Frazier’s collection continues to expand.
For more information on museum exhibits, programs and events, visit www.FrazierMuseum.org or call (502) 753-5663.