The Stewart Toy Soldier Gallery
Welcome to their world.
The newly-reinterpreted and vastly expanded toy soldier collection at the Frazier History Museum is not only bigger - it’s better, more valuable, and more rare than nearly any other toy soldier collection on public display in the world today. For the first time, the Stewart Toy Soldier Gallery will bring the toy soldier experience out from behind the glass, beyond collectors and aficionados, and into the hands of children (both young and at heart) who simply want to play.
One of the largest in the country
The Frazier is proud to present one of the premiere collections of toy soldiers in the United States and one of the largest collection of historic toy soldiers on public display in the world. With over 16,000 toy soldiers in its collection and over 10,000 soon-to-be on display made by distinguished makers of toy soldiers from all around the world, the Frazier is going next level with its historic collection. Housed in the new Stewart Toy Soldier Gallery, this exhibition will allow visitors to browse makers, styles and periods of treasured miniatures, while using their imaginations to experience a tiny world of play though hands-on interactives.
More than 10,000 tiny works of art
With the new gallery and expanded collection, visitors will find themselves immersed in a collection that extends the Frazier’s legacy of collecting objects that highlight fine craftsmanship, artistry, and rarity. Within the collection, the world’s most distinguished makers of toy soldiers are represented, including St. Petersburg, Heyde, Haffner, M.I.M., Lucotte, Courtenay, and Wm Britain. From children to adults, both novices and connoisseurs alike will get an up-close look at this incredible assembly of individual figures, elaborate sets, and detailed scenes.
A small window to a bigger historical picture
The Stewart Toy Soldier Gallery is possible thanks to a generous donation of toy soldiers to the Frazier by Charles Stewart of Frankfort, Kentucky. Stewart has been a collector of toy soldiers and toys all of his life. His love of toy soldiers began as a boy and continues today with a collection of nearly 13,000 world class figures representing approximately 114 historic toy soldier and figure manufacturers. Stewart’s collection is still growing. “Charles’ generous gifts continue the legacy of Owsley Brown Frazier in building a world-class collection for visitors to enjoy in the heart of Louisville, Kentucky,” said Frazier President, Penny Peavler. “The Frazier at only 12-years-old is becoming home to the best our region has to offer - both proud Kentucky visitors and world travelers who want to learn about Kentucky’s connection to the world.”
A small world. A very large gift.
Mr. Stewart’s father, Dr. John P. Stewart II, encouraged Charles in his collecting and nearly 10 years ago suggested he find a museum home in Kentucky to permanently house the growing collection. Over the years the collection continued to grow and to diversify into the rare, unique and historically important collection that will be presented on Sept. 27 as the Stewart Toy Soldier Gallery. Mr. Stewart’s significant gift continues the legacy of service to community that his father so ardently upheld in his medical practice and leadership of the Stewart Home School in Frankfort, Kentucky. Today Charles Stewart is a fifth generation administrator at the home and school dedicated to the education of students with intellectual disabilities.
The Frazier’s expanded toy soldier collection will also feature a local connection outside of Mr. Charles Stewart’s generous donation. A Kentucky Derby Set will be showcased on the first floor. A Bingham Set that was played with by well-known Louisville legend, Robert Worth Bingham will be displayed in a case with original boxes. A Louisville Home Guard unit set will share the story of the city’s history through the pro-union Louisville military group that patrolled the streets and discouraged Confederate sympathizers during the Civil War.
The Summer 2016 edition of Historic Toy Soldier Magazine boasted recently that The Stewart Collection at the Frazier History Museum is “undoubtedly one of the most important collections of its kind in the United States, and is one of the finest collections of rare historic toy soldiers on permanent public display in the world today,” according to Toy Soldier expert and Christie’s Auction House consultant, Norman Joplin. http://www.oldtoysoldier.com/