Okay so I haven’t actually been there. But I’m definitely adding this one to the bucket list. I’m finally starting to get my travel groove on which is great, and museums like this remind me of how much I want to see more of the world. It’s like it was built for me!
I’ve been nerding out at their visual museum which is pretty great, and there’s so much to see, learn, AND share! So I put together some of my favorite historical children’s objects from their collections. These are some of my favorites, but there’s a lot to go through. The dollhouses are pretty epic, and I love the vintage sci-fi toys and games.
My Top Picks From The Games Collection
This is the Game of Goose! This family game was most likely inspired by similar middle Eastern games that came before it. But the first written record of this game was actually during the mid-Renaissance era (mid to late 1500s) when a Florence Duke gifted it to Spain’s King Phillip II. Pretty neat.
Here’s a quick rundown of how the game is played. In a nutshell, most “game of goose” style games will feature 63 spaces aligned in a spiral of some kind. The goal is to be the first to reach space 63, but you have to reach it by an exact throw of the dice. Each turn, a player rolls two dice which determines how many spaces they can move, plus the board is scatted with illustrated spaces that reward or throw curve-balls like losing a turn or even death.
Players also have to agree on a pot of “money” or value so to speak at the start of the game, and the winner of course takes all! No strategy, just luck.
The Very First Toy Catalog!
This is so cool. The first toy catalogs were printed in Germany because that was basically the heart of the toy world. Just like today, toy salesman or “reps” would carry these illustrated toy catalogs to show vendors the latest and greatest in toys, and it was a far more convenient alternative than lugging around a bunch of heavy samples.
And so the magical toy catalog was born! I get lost in toy catalogs for hours. HOURS. There’s also some particularly hysterical and unintentionally creepy ones from the 1970s online. More on that later.
Moving Image Gallery
Ahh model railroads, I do admire them. So much work went in to achieve such perfect intricate details; it all helps to create a story. I used to spend hours at the model railroad museum in San Diego where I grew up. The model railroads at the Museum of Childhood are probably amazing up close, along with other exhibits from the Moving Toys Gallery, like vintage robots and this 1970s Chinese table tennis toy.
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