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Rolling into the Norton Museum, their newest exhibit Wheels and Heels: The Big Noise Around Little Toys welcomed its guests with life-sized classic cars and Barbie memorabilia during its opening celebration on Thursday, June 19.

Wheels and Heels Exhibition at Norton Museum of Art ran until October 26th, 2014

For the young and young at heart, Wheels and Heels took a playful and in-depth look into the history of iconic Matchbox, Hot Wheels and Barbie toys from past till present.

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As part of the exhibit, children and adults alike could take a tour through more than 800 tiny toys, interactive playrooms and toy collections.

The exhibit also featured a photo-op with your favorite classic car or Barbie doll.

Wheels and Heels Exhibition at Norton Museum of Arts
Guest Curator Matthew Bird

Guest curator Matthew Bird, Associate Professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, dressed in period clothing (dressed as a Ken Doll) for his lecture, “Under the Hood”, were the audience was walked through the design evolution of Barbie dolls & miniature cars and their impact on manufacturing and advertising.

Matthew Bird, came to this project with a blank slate. As a child, Bird never played with society’s beloved miniature toys, but since then has become completely fascinated by them. As he had never played with or owned a Barbie doll or miniature car; but he read 31 books about Barbie as well as vintage advertisements and drawings.

“I felt most drawn to the mark left by the person who touched the toys, who bit that finger, broke that tire off or tried to remove Barbie’s hair.”  Bird said. With more than 2000 pieces purchased, Bird decided to let his collection tell its own story with the Wheels and Heels exhibit.

Recreating your childhood one-miniature piece at a time, Norton Museum and Matthew Bird invite you to take a journey to the past. Find yourself exploring Barbie’s dollhouse. Imagine yourself inside a 1958 MGA sports car. Or just learn about the history and impact that children’s classic toys made on society.

A sparkle pink jaguar convertible hangs on the wall above Barbie’s house, college dorm, and theater, you can almost see her driving down Worth Ave in Palm Beach with her sun glasses on and scarf blowing in the breeze. One could walk through this exhibit time after time and find something new, intriguing, and with the gift shop hosting a large range of Barbie products, you or your little one can walk out feeling like you own a part of the exhibit itself.

Wheels and Heels is not per say an exhibition only for kids. All adults present at the opening night were happily sharing stories that go back when they had their own Barbie dolls or Matchbox cars. It was like traveling back through time in seconds, letting the imagination run away smoothly to pamper carefree and playful moments, bringing back  memories and comments that would cause the most affectionate smile in many of us.

And what just hopping into a Big Barbie Box for a picture? Didn’t we ever dream about being in of those boxes? Some visitors present at the opening of Wheels and Heels Exhibition at Norton Museum of Art were able to look astonishingly gorgeous and happy as well.

Matthew Bird made emphasis in the role that advertising had during the manufacturing explosion area of the Matchbox and Barbie toys back in the early 1900’s that has set up an unparallelled trend in the industry for decades.

 The exhibition “Wheels and Heels: The Big Noise Around Little Toys” that saw a perfect opening night June 19 at Norton Museum of Art, featured a trove of Barbie dolls, Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars, and ran through October 26 2014 at the Norton Museum.

Wheels and Heels Exhibition at Norton Museum of Art

This is a highly suggested activity during this summer and beginning of fall in West Palm Beach that can bring many merry memories.

About the Norton Museum of Art

Founded in 1941 by Ralph Hubbard Norton (1875–1953) and his wife, Elizabeth Calhoun Norton (1881–1947), The Norton Museum of Art is actively interested in fine arts and developed a sizable collection of paintings and sculpture. The staff at this prestigious arts institution, considered South Florida’s premier art museum, is devoted to promoting arts within the community and visitors to beautiful West Palm Beach and nearby cities.

Besides the diverse events that take place at the museum, visitors can delight in many of the exhibitions that are presented throughout the year, including curator’s conversations, workshops, and lectures.

Multiple programs for adults and children are possible at the Museum, specially by the generosity of The Addison Hines Charitable Trust. One of them is the popular After dark event that happens every Thursday evening, presenting diverse arts to visitors ranging from music, dance, films and also many DIY art projects, tours, conversations with curators, lectures, and wine tastings making these special programs exceptional events and cultural landmarks in West Palm Beach.

For more information about the exhibits, and events, visit www.norton.org.

Wheels and Heels Exhibition at Norton Museum of Art Took Place October 26 2014, Featuring a Trove Of Barbie Dolls, Matchbox & Hot Wheels Cars.

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