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Toy trucks, when viewed as cultural artifacts, illuminate Oregon’s broader society, industries, and place in time. The company’s first release, the Timber Toter, was introduced in 1947 when clear-cutting was common and much of Oregon’s old growth forests were still being logged. Original documents, vintage photographs and cast-aluminum toy trucks reveal the untold story of how little boys whose fathers drove log trucks or worked in Oregon’s timber industry were socialized to step into their father’s work boots. Other important Oregon industries were also represented as models were added to the All American Toy Company lineup that included dump trucks used in construction, cattle liners that transported the region’s livestock, fire trucks, and box vans representing many Oregon businesses. All of the company’s marketing was aimed at little boys, presenting the perfect opportunity to examine gender stereotypes in the mid-twentieth century. The exhibit also displays exquisitely detailed 12:1 and 16:1 scale models produced in the late 20th and early 21st centuries – no longer toys but limited edition collectibles for adults.
In 2016, Frank Barnett and Martha Solomon
published All American Toy Co. – All American Toys for All American Boys, now available as a limited edition book with its custom book stand fabricated from the original die-cast cab.
Frank Barnett's advertising agency launched a statewide direct mail membership drive and an award-winning national advertising campaign that achieved an increase in membership of 10% and built traffic in the museum's five retail stores.
Frank Barnett created a highly successful national retail catalog program that included product selection for the Museum of New Mexico's four museums – the Museum of Fine Arts, the Palace of the Governors, the Museum of International Folk Art, and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. Working with Native American tribes and regional Hispanic artists, Frank curated museum-quality items to be offered in the catalog, supervised art and photo direction, and established the inventory fulfillment and customer service operations for the museums. The items selected and offered in the catalog had to meet the same artistic and cultural standards as items selected for acquisition by each of the museums.
"The catalog was not only a remarkable representation of items that characterized our four museums, it was also a highly successful marketing program."
Director Marketing & Communications
Museum of New Mexico
Working with Reed Harris Direct Mail, Frank designed and created the marketing program for the Oregon Art Institute's Museum, College and Film Center's membership drive. The theme of the campaign took its lead from one of the museum's signature pieces, A Muse, 1912 by Constantin Brancusi – "Still Musing" about becoming an Oregon Art Institute Member? Join today.
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