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Want to Feel Old AF? All Your ’80s Toys are In the Smithsonian

Some day, students will be studying your lame toys in a museum. Oh wait. It's already happening!

National Air and Space Museum

Remember in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Indy yells “It…belongs…in a museum!” Well, did you ever think that phrase would refer to toys you actually played with in the 1980s? It’s been said that one’s man trash is another man’s treasure, but now, it’s also clear that one kid’s weird toy is 100 percent worthy of being archived by the most prestigious museum in the world.

This week, the Smithsonian opened-up its digital archives to the public, which means you can now see exactly what they’re keeping for posterity. This includes a lot of vintage toys and even one empty box that used to contain a Transformer.

The categories within the various versions of the Smithsonian can be staggering to navigate. But if you stick to the pop culture section of the Air and Space Museum, you’ll find some amazing stuff. For one thing, there’s a vintage ’80s astronaut Barbie, which, yours truly actually owned as a child. (My mom was sick of me destroying my sister’s Barbie dolls, so I was given my own “Space Barbie.” Loooong story.)

Anyway, while perusing the Smithsonian’s digital archives, I came face-to-face with my old Barbie doll. On top of this, there are several pages devoted to various Transformers, including a legit 1984 Optimus Prime, who looks like he’s in pretty damn good shape.

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And then, there’s the mystery of the empty box that once contained a Transformer. If you look at the entry for “Jetfire” (a Transformer who turned into a plane) you’ll see it’s a photo of an empty box. Sure, there are subsequent images that show you what Jetfire looks like, but at first glance, it’s like the Smithsonian has a box that used to contain a Transformer stored in its archives. Which leads any sane person to only one conclusion.

That Transformer got loose and is running around somewhere. Is the Smithsonian just a front for a government agency tasked with tracking down and capturing sentient toys? The evidence is mounting…

Here’s all the digital archives for the Smithsonian.