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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
The Mexican Antique Toy Museum, Mexico City, Mexico
This four-story building in the Mexican capital’s historic Doctores neighborhood is packed with superhero figures, robots, trains and Hello Kitty toys. The collection is curated by lifelong toy collector Roberto Shimizu and his son. The museum also features many Mexican toys, including an extensive range of lucha libre masks and memorabilia.