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Nuremberg Toy Museum

September 26, 2016

Miniature Doll House (through a Magnifying Glass)

This past weekend, we drove to Nuremberg, Germany, to visit a friend who was in town for business.  We immediately hit the center of town for the Altstadtfest - a market showcasing foods, crafts, sweets, and entertainment.  Afterwards, we wandered around town... peeked into a few churches and shops... hiked up to the Nuremberg Castle... and then made our way over to the famous toy museum.  (El & Lil were way more excited (and willing!) to continue walking for this destination!)





Also known as the Lydia Bayer Museum, Nuremberg's Toy Museum holds a collection of 87,000 toy objects that span from antiquity to modern times (with a focus primarily on the last two centuries).  Since its opening in 1971, this museum attracts four million visitors a year!  And, only 5% of the total toy objects in the collection are on view.  The remaining can be found via their virtual collection (in German only). 


A few early toys from Greek Antiquity

It was cool to see some of the earliest toys from Antiquity in the museum's collection.  It's clear that humans can be creative with whatever materials they have at hand.  All it takes is a child's imagination to bring a form to life!


Wooden Blocks Become a City

We saw this creativity explode with wooden forms and colors.  Shapes evolve from rectilinear to include curves, colors became more exciting, forms became more abstract.


Abstract Wooden Toys

And then, we found a room full of stamped and cutout metal sheets.  The scenes ranged from farms and cattle migrations to war-time troops and encampments.


Cutout Metal Sheet Toys

Matchbox Toys

Tons of planes, trains, and automobiles... metal working gets pretty serious now.


Handmade Tea Settings

Porcelain makers seemed to get into the fun too - by making endless varieties of tea sets and place settings... all of this had to go somewhere...




If you are a big fan of miniature toys, then this is a must see for the great condition of each set, the completeness of the set, and the enduring fascination that all of this was made by hand.


A General Store


A Dining Room


A Basket Shop


A Kitchen at Night

Then, lighting was added...




Fully enclosed houses with lighting became popular...




Jumping to the future, my, have things changed!


A Modern Kitchen


Lil Size Doll House

The size and scale of the sets grew over time... The inlaid flooring in the house above was so intricate.  I wonder how long it took to finish the house!





But, there were other toys, too! Bugs, bugs, and more bugs!





Toys to ride on!




Toys to hug...

Early Steif Bear
Toys to play magic tricks...




Toys that go from two dimensions to three using theatrical techniques...




Here, a city scene has the windows cut out and the lights turn on and off to give the illusion of life within the composition.




Sadly, a dark turn in toy history... 





And, a whole section dedicated to the modern toys made from plastic technologies that we are all familiar with... (but, I was more fascinated by the earlier, handmade toys, obviously!)


Hi, Guys!

The tour ends in a room dedicated, not to the toys, but to the children of the past century.  A selection of toys is displayed with a photo of a child either posed next to the toy or playing with the toy.  This is a sweet ending to our visit because it reminds us that it is a child's love and imagination that bring life to these toys... and, that, is the magical thing indeed!




. . .







On the surrounding walls are more photos of children, each with a toy in hand, reminding us of the countless moments of playful magic that have come and gone... maybe, it is also reminding us to continue to cherish and encourage child's play for generations to come!


 


 


Nuremberg Toy Museum 
(Museum Lydia Bayer)
Karlstra├če 13-15
90403 Nuremberg
Germany 
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