100 Years – 100 Objects: Aluminum Wire Car

The Houston Museum of Natural Science was founded in 1909 – meaning that the curators of the Houston Museum of Natural Science have been collecting and preserving natural and cultural treasures for a hundred years now. For this yearlong series, our current curators have chosen one hundred exceptional objects from the Museum’s immense storehouse of specimens and artifacts—one for each year of our history. Check back here frequently to learn more about this diverse selection of behind-the-scenes curiosities—we will post the image and description of a new object every few days.

This description is from Dirk, the museum’s curator of anthropology. He’s chosen a selection of objects that represent human cultures throughout time and around the world, that we’ll be sharing here – and on hmns.org – throughout the year.

How do African children play? One answer is: with toys they make themselves. The aluminum–wire car is but one of many shapes rendered in this material. This particular car was made in 1999 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This car illustrates the creative genius of African children, who make these kinds of toys by recycling wire and tires. It shows the great flexibility and adaptability that makes humans such interesting subjects to study.

You can see more images of this fascinating artifact – as well as the others we’ve posted so far this year – in the photo gallery on hmns.org.