Inside the Collection

Of Copenhagen, cute toys and carbon sinks

Toy zebra
Designed by Kay Bojesen. Collection, Powerhouse Museum.

Thinking about the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, it struck me as fitting that we have two cute Copenhagen-made wooden toys in our carbon sinks showcase in the exhibition Ecologic: creating a sustainable future.

The toy zebra and elephant have sat there since 2001, alongside a wooden chair, a seashell, a pile of wood chips, and a huge slice of an Australian red cedar tree. We hope they encourage visitors to think about carbon sources and sinks. Addressing the issue of human-induced climate change is even more urgent now than it was when we developed the exhibition.

Toy elephant
Designed by Kay Bojesen. Collection, Powerhouse Museum.

The toys, designed by Kay Bojesen, are part of a collection donated as a bequest by kindergarten teacher and toyshop director Monica Piddington in 1970. I doubt that anyone at that time saw the toys as carbon sinks! However, making toys, houses, furniture and other treasured objects from wood is an important human contribution to sequestering carbon – but only if we truly treasure them and protect them from rotting (which would unlock the carbon in them, adding methane or carbon dioxide to the atmosphere).

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