Skip to content

Object of the Week: 1920s Chicken Toy

What’s the story behind a 1920s chicken toy in OMCA’s collection? Registrar Meredith Patute (and her pet chicken Redd) find out.


Every week, OMCA staff—from curators to gallery guides—reflect on an object from the Museum’s extensive collections that shares insights and inspiration for our present moment. 

From Meredith Patute, Registrar

The collection of the Oakland Museum of California is both vast in size and diversity. With nearly 3 million objects, there is something for everyone’s interest. Today Redd and I wanted to share with you this adorable chicken toy from the 1920s.

It was most likely used to decorate for and celebrate Boy’s and/or Girl’s Day, two annual holidays that honor children. Boy’s and Girl’s days are Japanese holidays observed in March and May, where families celebrate the healthy growth and happiness of children. This particular toy belonged to the Domoto Family of the Bay Area and was donated to OMCA in 1998. 

What I love about this piece is that on face value it brings joy through it’s fun, playful nature, but as you look deeper, you discover it has a much greater importance and tells a story. What everyday objects in your life help to tell your story? Let us know in the comments.