Colchester Collectors

3 Jan 2018

Hello, my name is Emma and I am one of the Collections and Learning Curators based in Colchester.

In this blog I’m going to talk about our most recent temporary exhibition at the Castle. It’s called ‘Colchester Collectors’ and takes up a single case on the ground floor. In preparation for the exhibition, we did a call out for local people with personal collections and invited one of them to display their items in the museum. That person is a man called Robert Wisdom and he collects vintage action man figures.

Footballer Action Man
Deep Sea Diver Action Man


I never had Action Men as a child, instead I had ‘climbing Sindy’ who came complete with climbing ropes and hooks – excellent for annoying parents with! However, I can definitely relate to Rob’s passion for the figures, each with their own costumes and accessories.

Inside the case we have created a display from the figures Rob selected for us from his collection. He picked the figures to give an idea of how Action Man has changed over the years, with different features such as flock hair and gripping hands.

Polar Explorer Action Man
Red Devil Parachutist Action Man



One that particularly stood out was the Mercury 10 Astronaut figure. Rob’s figure was actually blasted into space on an episode of BBC’s ‘The One Show’, it even has its own little BBC visitor badge!

Mercury 10


We’ve also displayed the first ever Action Man from 1966, next to his 50th anniversary edition.

I’ve been surprised at how many people, including my colleagues, have suddenly lit up with excitement after seeing the display and started telling stories about their childhood Action Man toys. In my eyes, museums are for telling and sharing stories and it’s very exciting to see people loving this display so much.

Colchester Collectors will be a recurring feature so, if you have a collection you would like to display in the Castle, keep an eye on our website and social media feeds.

For more information about Rob’s collection, visit his website.


Where will your adventure start?