Anyone with an interest in the style and substance of mid-twentieth century America will enjoy the new temporary exhibit at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, Playing for Keeps: The VFW Marble Tournaments, 1947-1962.
At a time when marble playing was at the height of popularity, hundreds of thousands of boys across the country participated in tournaments sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The tournaments were open to children across all racial and economic boundaries, offering experiences in competition, sportsmanship, and comradery that would last them a lifetime. The tournaments also gave returning veterans opportunities to reconnect with their families and communities.
Playing for Keeps explores the personal and societal facets of the tournaments, told through the firsthand stories of the players as well as through their trophies, ribbons, and prizes—all within a fun, retro-themed gallery. There’s even a regulation-size marble ring, where visitors are invited to become “mibsters” (marble players) and “knuckle down” (position the hand to shoot) for a game.
Throughout the exhibit’s fourteen months, The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures will present abundant programming related to marbles and marble playing, including lectures, tours, and hands-on workshops.
Playing for Keeps is presented in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Kansas City-area resident Scott Rice McBride, author of Kings of the Rings: Stories of the VFW National Marble Tournaments, 1947-1962, worked closely with the museum to curate the exhibit, which will run through January 6, 2019.