It began as a simple collection of toys of yesteryear, but quickly grew into a popular exhibit at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library in Little Rock. Now, thanks to the Vapor Valley Questers, these toys will now be given voice to explain their history to library visitors.

The Questers have arranged for 25 BeaconSage speakers, approximately the size of a silver dollar, to be positioned aside each featured toy. Aristotle, an award-winning interactive agency with headquarters in Little Rock, will be managing the production of the accompanying website, downloads, toy vocals and additional texted historic information.
Jane Parker, Hot Springs Village resident, donated many toys, including Raggedy Ann and Andy. “Believed to be early edition 1933, when I was born and both dolls were redressed in clothes which my grandmother made for them. Original clothes are in the doll trunk which accompanies them,” said Parker.
Quester member, Mary Ellen Gardner, offered her favorite doll. “I played with this doll and especially liked her roller skates and clothes closet. None of my girlfriends had anything like it,” said Gardner.
Gardner researched the history of each endowment which will be included in the vocal and written history of each toy.
Gardner’s investigations included details on Playskool. Founded in 1928 by a former Milwaukee, Wisconsin, school teacher, Lucille King, her creations were various wooden prototypes aimed at education for preschool and kindergarten-age children. Within two years, Playskool created more than 40 wooden toys.
Training and production of the BeaconSage speakers is in progress and full installation; applications are scheduled for completion by the end of summer. Funding for the project was enabled by a grant given the local chapter by the National Questers and local donations.
Hot Springs Village donors include Bill Berry, Patricia Brandt, Patricia Coffman, Pat Cuba, Lois Decker, Janet Ferris, Mary Ellen Gardner, Shirley Guest, Gretchen Hewitt, Deanna Hicklin, Rose Jackson, Sheila Lee, Gloria Lyda, Marna Morissette, Jane Parker, Carol Payne, Toni Phillips, Pat Poole, Roberta Pope, Jan Rich, David and Gail Salmen, Helen Seekatz, Barbara Shurtleff and Catherine Ann Cowan Wedwick. Donors from Hot Springs include Jimmie Jones and Nita Ridgway.
Other donors who generously donated memorabilia included Rose Chojnacki, Aurora, Colorado; Bruce Fox, Bella Vista, Arkansas; Paul and Amy Jenkins, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin; Thelma Poole, Bryant, Arkansas; and Mary Sharrah, Van Buren, Arkansas.
International Questers started in 1944 when Elizabeth Bess Bardens passed an antique store on her lunch break where she bought a syrup pitcher. The pitcher launched a discussion group which grew rapidly and now has 721 chapters in 43 states and two Canadian provinces, touting more than 11,260 members.
A nonprofit organization, HSV’s Vapor Valley Questers research antiques, share discoveries and help to preserve and restore buildings and historic sites. Funding for their preservation and research is generated by local members and fundraising activities.
For more information, visit www.arkansas questers.com.