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Photo of a blue and yellow toy helicopter
Navy helicopter, Japan, ca. 1960

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Lancaster Toy and Train Collection at the Children's Museum of Virginia
A Local Legacy

What could be more fun than a museum full of toys?

A.J. "Junie" Lancaster and his wife, Mildred, had a sizable toy and train collection, which they wanted to share with others. So they donated it to the Children's Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth. The collection contains more than 2,000 toys and trains worth about $1 million! Now, young and old can enjoy Tonka toys, model cars, Buddy L trucks, fire trucks, and tin windup and cast iron toys. The collection also includes circus toys -- circus tents filled with colorful circus figures, trapeze artists, and circus wagons.

The majority of the collection, however, is dedicated to model trains. All types of trains -- Lionel, Williams, and Weaver in many different sizes -- are on display. Visitors can pop their heads up into a clear dome and get a 360-degree look at the trains as they chug around the exhibit area. They can even work the trains' controls.

Visitors also learn about railroad safety, the fun of model railroading and collecting, the history of railroads, and the railroads' importance to the development of the United States.

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