There is a place in the heart of Pauls Valley where superheroes fight wicked villains and alien creatures mingle with The Incredible Hulk and Ghost Rider. It is a hub where action figure enthusiasts from all over the world journey to pay homage to the imagination of designers and sculptors who mold plastic into the stuff of fantasy. The Toy & Action Figure Museum will expand this week to include a new exhibit, based more on true events in world history and less on imagination. On Pearl Harbor Day, the museum will open free to the public to unveil a new room dedicated to the heroes of World War II. "We've always had a military section in the museum, but we have a lot of veterans come through and we really wanted to honor them with the display,” said Kevin Stark, a toy designer and the museum's curator. It is the only accredited museum in the country dedicated to action figures.
The exhibitBuilt by Stark, along with museum board member Mackey McClain and board President Ron Hatchell, the exhibit consists of scenes from World War II. On one side of the room, the Japanese theater depicts American soldiers storming a beach while Japanese soldiers defend the highland. On the European front, American troops fight to liberate a European village under German control. The action figures in the World War II exhibit are mostly Dragon and G.I. Joe and are on loan from the personal collections of McClain and Hatchell and others. The figures are set against a colorful 21-foot backdrop that reads, "Action figure heroes in combat: A tribute to the men and women who have served their country in the armed forces.” Stark said the exhibit likely will be in place for a year, then the museum will feature displays dedicated to other American wars.
The museumThe nonprofit museum has 6,000 square feet with about 10,000 action figures on display. It opened in 2005 as a community engagement project aimed to increase tourism to Pauls Valley during a city-wide process called VISION 2010.
IF YOU GO
WWII exhibit opening•What: World War II veterans will cut the ribbon to the exhibit. •When: 4 p.m. today. •Where: Toy & Action Figure Museum, 111 S Chickasaw St. in Pauls Valley. •Information: Call (405) 238-6300.