Timeless Toys - New Bedford Whaling Museum

Timeless Toys

Timeless Toys

Installation in Hallway on Main Level

Opened: October 25, 2016

Closed: September 19, 2019

The star attraction was an abstract painting by two of New Bedford’s most beloved residents: Asian elephants Ruth and Emily from the Buttonwood Park Zoo.


The 24” x 24” painting in bold primary colors was part of Timeless Toys, a special exhibition for children featuring antique and vintage toys, Punch and Judy puppets, books, comic books, games, and circus memorabilia.

Ruth and Emily’s colorful painting was a good fit for the exhibition, according to Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Christina Connett, Ph.D. “We wanted to design an exhibit that children of all ages would enjoy as they make their way to the Casa dos Botes Discovery Center, our new family interactive zone. We had heard of the elephants’ work and thought it would be great fun to include, so we approached the Buttonwood Park Zoo. They were gracious enough to arrange a specially commissioned painting to be donated to the Museum.”

Connett said that the objects on display were selected with children in mind, “but so far, adults stop as often as kids do to comment on the items in the cases. We keep hearing, ‘I used to have one of those!’”

The Museum kept Timeless Toys fresh for visitors by rotating objects on display periodically, drawing on the Museum/Old Dartmouth Historical Society’s extensive collection of toys, games, books, comic books and childhood memorabilia.