“Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection” Exhibition

The New-York Historical Society

poster for “Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection” Exhibition

This event has ended.

The New-York Historical Society is transformed this holiday season with the installation of a spectacular exhibit of treasures from the renowned Jerni Collection of model trains, scenic elements and toys. The dynamic display will appeal to all age groups, showcasing the beauty and allure of toys from a bygone era. The Holiday Express exhibition is sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Assembled over a period of some fifty years by U.S. collectors Jerry and Nina Greene, the Jerni Collection is widely acknowledged as the world’s best. With pieces dating from approximately 1850 to 1940, the collection contains a comprehensive representation of the work of every major toy manufacturer that set the standard for the Golden Age of European toy manufacturing, including the prized German firms of Märklin, Bing, Ernst Plank and Carette.

The Holiday Express exhibition will unfold over a broad swath of New-York Historical’s first floor, featuring more than 150 pieces from the Jerni Collection that will transform the space into a magical wonderland. With the aid of theatrical lighting, an ambient audio “soundscape,” and other visual effects, visitors will be engaged in an immersive experience. The exhibition begins at the West 77th Street entrance, where movement and sound from four large-scale multimedia screens will make it seem as though trains are roaring through the space. A 360-degree mountainous landscape will be on view in the Judith and Howard Berkowitz Sculpture Court, featuring artifacts grouped into ten scenes, including a tunnel, a train station arrival, a harbor with a lighthouse, and an airplane fly-by.

An expansive display in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History will feature a variety of trains, stations and other buildings, as well as aircraft and ships and boats of all shapes and sizes, including the largest example of Bing’s Leviathan toy ocean liner. The Leah and Michael Weisberg Monumental Treasures Wall Case will feature lighting effects that change the scene from dawn to dusk with a subtle palette of light.

Several illuminated cases in New-York Historical’s hallways will feature thematic displays from the collection. A dramatically lit case along the Central Park West corridor will feature large-scale American pieces from the collection, including moving trains within an abstract landscape, as well as interactive elements like a crawl-through space and a pop-up semi-sphere, so kids can get an up-close view of the display.

Among the unique, hand-crafted and hand-painted toys on display will be a rare, early American-made Ives station, featuring a canopy made of 32 pieces of colored glass; a rare example of Märklin’s swimming pool; and the Boucher “Blue Comet,” a rare toy train from the 1920s-30s that mimics the real Blue Comet, which ran from the New York metropolitan area to Atlantic City during the Great Depression.



from November 21, 2014 to February 22, 2015

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