Home » 2014 - New-York Historical Society » Holiday Express

In 2014, The New-York Historical Society acquired a substantial number of antique toy trains, figurines, vehicles and buildings from a private collection. This collection, spanning products from 1860s to the 1950s, represented a valuable look back at toy manufacturing, transportation history and the evolving nature of childhood and play. The Historical Society wanted to display these antique toys in a way that would bring them to life and spur visitors’ imagination.

Chris worked on a team of three to develop an exhibit that did just that. Despite the challenge of displaying valuable and fragile items, the team was able to come up with a variety of ways to activate the collection. Through careful choreography of lighting, media, sound effects and overhead moving trains, the team was able to animate the entire collection, conducting visitors’ attentions from one collection highlight to another. Whether highlighting formal design elements such as wheels, clocks or figures, or taking visitors on a journey from sea to air to bustling cities, this exhibit never stands still.

Chris’s role on this project spanned various disciplines. He collaborated directly with N-YHS curatorial, educational and operations staff, developing exhibit-level spatial programming and object layouts. He collaborated with media producers Batwin+Robin to craft the timeline of media, lighting and audio, and coordinated programming, fabrication and installation of ten seperate display cases.

The exhibit opened after Thanksgiving 2014, and has returned every wintertime season since.