The Most Outrageous Toy Museums Around the World

The Mexican Antique Toy Museum | © Karen Apricot / Flickr
The Mexican Antique Toy Museum | © Karen Apricot / Flickr
Photo of Stephen Woodman
29 September 2017

If you take play seriously and you’re a connoisseur of toys, there are a range of notable toy collections found in various cities across the world. These museums showcase antique and modern toys from various cultures and periods. Some simply display their vast catalogs, while others offer impressive interactive exhibits.

Prague Toy Museum, Prague, Czech Republic

Currently located in the Clam-Gallas Palace, an elegant Baroque building in Prague, the Prague Toy Museum is reportedly the second-largest collection in the world (after Penang Toy Museum in Malaysia). Neatly arranged in glass display cases, the museum showcases iconic and unusual toys from the past three centuries. The collection includes soldiers, dolls, trains, cars, teddy bears, mechanical toys and other objects that will transport you back in time. The museum also features a life-size Darth Vader statue, some very creepy dolls and a talking Trump doll released in 2004.

Prague Toy Museum, Clam-Gallasův palác, Husova 20, Staré Město, Czech Republic +420 720 203 692

Suomenlinna Toy Museum, Helsinki, Finland

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China Doll in Suomenlinna Toy Museum
China Doll in Suomenlinna Toy Museum | © Ilkka Jukarainen / Flickr
This impressive Finnish toy collection is located in a pretty wooden villa on the island fortress of Suomenlinna off the coast of Helsinki. Everything about the collection is quaint and quirky in a uniquely Finnish way – a mood that anyone who has seen The Moomins comic books or TV series will readily identify. The collection includes hundreds of antique dolls, historic Teddy Bears and other toys dating from the early 19th century to the 1960s.

Toy and Model Museum, Brighton, United Kingdom

Museum, Train Station
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Sinister clowns at Brighton Toy and Model Museum
Sinister clowns at Brighton Toy and Model Museum | © Maggie Stephens / Flickr
Situated in the forecourt of Brighton railway station, this collection focuses on European toys and models produced up until the mid-20th century. Founded in 1991 by toy fanatic Chris Littledale, the museum boasts more than 10,000 toys and models, including model trains, period antique puppets and radio-controlled aircraft. Housed within 4,000 square feet of floor space, Littledale has overseen the refurbishment and restoration of the museum’s vast collection.

Tartu Toy Museum, Tartu, Estonia

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Tartu Toy Museum
Tartu Toy Museum | © Alberto Garcia / Flickr
This highly entertaining museum is located in a pretty 18th century building and holds dolls, teddy bears, rocking horses and other toys that will take you to a bygone era. The museum is not limited to displaying its collectibles in glass cases either, there is a fun, interactive playroom that will keep kids entertained for hours.

Strong National Museum of Play, Rochester, New York

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Strong National Museum of Play
Strong National Museum of Play | © Sean X Liu / Flickr
This unique museum traces the history of toys and games and the way they contribute to learning, development and creativity. Spread over more than 100,000 square feet of exhibit space, the museum boasts more than 400,000 toys, games and other playthings. But this is not a museum you shuffle through quietly while looking at display cases. The Strong Museum is highly interactive, and includes interactive exhibits at the National Toy Hall of Fame and working historic video games at the World Video Game Hall of Fame.