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Curator's Pick: Top 5 Star Wars Objects

This blog was written by Ryan Krenzke and Ashley Ramsey Hannum. Ryan is The Children's Museum's Curator of History. He’s been a Star Wars fan for over 20 years and is really in to AT-ATs.  Ashley is The Children's Museum's Curator of Anthropology and Archaeology. She’s loved Star Wars since her preteen heart was stolen by Hayden Christensen (don’t judge).  

At The Children’s Museum we have a collection of over five thousand Star Wars objects.  In celebration of Star Wars Day—May the Fourth—we wanted to share five of our favorites! 

“Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper?” – Princess Leia 

This is the 1982 Death Star Compactor Action Playset.  It’s inspired by one of our favorite scenes in A New Hope.  This is when Han and Luke meet Leia for the first time and our heroes face their first major challenge in evading capture and escaping the Death Star.  This playset includes a dueling Obi-Wan and Darth Vader, battling Stormtroopers, and an operable trash compactor.  Everything you need to put yourself into the story!  

“And I thought they smelled bad on the outside.” – Han Solo 

Everything you need to know is in the name of the toy: Tauntaun with open belly rescue feature.  Not only does this toy remind us of one of the more memorable scenes in Empire Strikes Back, but it’s hilariously accurate (minus the smell, thankfully).

“Aaararrrgwwwh.” – Chewbacca 

When you need a convenient way to carry all of your Star Wars action figures and look totally awesome doing it...the Chewbacca Bandolier Strap (1983).  If we’d had this toy growing up we’d be as happy as this kid.  

“I don’t know, fly casual.” – Han Solo

One of the things we love most about Star Wars is the iconic vehicles.  TIE Fighters, X-wings, and, of course, the Millennium Falcon are characters in their own right. This Imperial Shuttle Vehicle (1984), more specifically the Tydirium variation of the Lambda-Class shuttles, carried the Emperor around the galaxy.  But our favorite moment is when Han, Chewie, Luke, and Leia infiltrate the forest moon of Endor using a stolen shuttle. This toy moves just like the shuttle in Return of the Jedi with folding wings, extending ramp, targeting blasters. All you need to supply is the sound effects. 

“Well, I’ll just make it up to him next year, I promise” – Uncle Owen

Star Wars was one of the first major motion pictures to launch an expansive toy line. Kenner, the toy production company, did not expect the massive demand for their action figures, and the toys were not ready for the 1977 Christmas season. Instead, they offered these Early Bird Certificate Packages, which included a voucher to be redeemed for four action figures at a later date. Thousands of children received these empty boxes for Christmas, but the program was somehow still a success. This marketing strategy became so legendary that the Early Bird packages were sold once again in 2005, but this time as a novelty piece and a nod to Kenner’s ingenuity.

Those are our favorite Star Wars collectibles—what are yours? 

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