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'Dangerous Games' opens at Napa Valley Museum

'Dangerous Games' opens at Napa Valley Museum

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It is hard to believe so many of us survived childhood, given the treacherous, toxic, yet tantalizing toys we played with as kids. We dove head-first onto slippery sheets of plastic called the Slip ‘N Slide, plucked bugs (sometimes edible) called Creepy Crawlers out of plastic goop in searing hot molds, dodged skull-piercing flying arrows called Lawn Darts, and played with explosives, molten hot glass, dangerous dyes — even radioactive material — all in the name of good clean fun.

The Napa Valley Museum Yountville explores the "wild, wacky, whammo wonders" that were our childhood toys in a new, original Main Gallery exhibition: “Dangerous Games: Treacherous Toys We Loved As Kids,” which opens on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 11 a.m. and continues through Feb. 13, 2022.

Guests can also investigate the “Back to the Backyard” collection of Hula Hoops and other hands-on toys. No dart guns or Red Ryder Rifles are included. 

An opening celebration is Saturday, Sept. 25, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The celebration is free for members and $20 for non-members and includes wines from Hope & Grace. 

A “dangerously entertaining” audio tour narrated by the “Voice of Disney” Bill Rogers will be available to rent for $5.  Written by Laura Rafaty, the museum's executive director, it is adapted in part from: “Wham-O Summer: Back to the Backyard,” published by Sports Illustrated, June 12, 2020, written by Steve Rushin.

Opening celebration tickets can be reserved and purchased at

Proceeds from the opening will benefit the Napa Valley Museum Yountville’s 501c3 nonprofit arts and education programs.

Masks are required for this event for all guests. For the protection of all visitors, including our neighboring Veterans Home residents, the Museum asks that all attendees attest to having been vaccinated or recently tested negative for COVID.

Also at the museum

Open now in  the Museum’s Spotlight and History galleries:

• “Kitchen Gizmos & Gadgets from the Kathleen Hill Culinary Collection”

Noted food and wine writer and editor Kathleen Thompson Hill has collected more than 3,000 kitchen utensils as part of what she calls a “quirky obsession.” For this exhibition she highlights kitchens gadgets and gizmos from the first ice cream scoop to the Toast-o-Lator. On exhibition through Nov. 28, 2021.

• “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” a group show from the Napa Valley Photographic Society. Founded in 1998, the Napa Valley Photographic Society (NVPS) promotes the art and science of photography — providing education, image appreciation, inspiration, and exchange of technologies. The exhibition also includes a display of antique cameras and memorabilia. On exhibition through Oct. 31.

• “Land & People of the Napa Valley,”  permanent history display.

The museum’s virtual exhibitions, including "Lucy Liu: One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others," the Remotely Creative student show, and "Tested By Fir,"  images of the wildfires by Napa Valley photojournalist Tim Carl, are available online on the website:

The Napa Valley Museum Yountville is at 55 Presidents Circle in Yountville. Starting Sept. 25, all museum galleries will be open Thursdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Regular museum admission is free for members; $15 for non-member adults, ages 18 to 64; $10 for seniors 65 and older and $5 for youth 6-17. Admission is free for children 5 and under and for residents of the California Veterans Home and active duty service members. 

For more information about the Museum's exhibitions and programs, or to join the Museum or reserve tickets for the Opening Celebration, please visit

Emerging from the pandemic with a bang, Fleetwood has fast become a local favorite with visitors sure to follow.

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