Museum takes visitors back to childhood
Toys that reflect the economic, cultural and political features of a society and serve as witnesses to history receive a great deal of attention from people of all ages in museums.
The Antalya Toy Museum, which is affiliated to the Antalya Municipality, is displaying toys from Turkey and all over the world. The museum is home to some 200,000 toys that have been acquired from international antique dealers and auctions.
The museum hosts not only children but also those who want to take a trip down memory lane just for a day.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, museum official Saliha Özdemir İpek said groups from Turkey and abroad come to visit the museum, where they hosted 27,146 students, 5,833 teachers, 5,709 retirees and 17,887 regular visitors in six years. “We also sold 47,413 family tickets,” she added.
She said Turkish dolls named “Fatoş Bebek,” “Nekur” and “Gürel,” which are not produced today, are also on display in the museum.
İpek said more than 3,000 people visit the museum every month. “This is actually a museum of memories. Our adult visitors, who see the toys they played with or they did not own in their childhood, become very happy,” she added.
She said toys are very important in revealing the economic situation of their era and the countries’ perception on children.
“Toys are the best way to present childhood. Handmade ones produced until the 19th century in iron studios started being produced in factories after the industrial revolution. Toys are the historical witnesses of their period. They reflect the features of their society as well as the economic, political and cultural situations,” she said.
Ipek said toys were used as the biggest propaganda tools during the Second World War.
“Hitler aimed at getting into the minds of children by producing military sets of Nazi soldiers in 1932. The Nazi military game sets became the bestselling toys in Germany in 1933. Japan had a significant place in toy production with the toys produced in the country after the atomic bomb in 1945. As you see toys were used as one of the most powerful tools to prepare for a war or to heal the wounds of a war. Both Hitler’s Nazi military sets and the Japanese toys produced after 1945 are on display in our museum,” she added.
İpek said the museum also displays toys from the Eyüp toymakers, which was known for producing toys from wasted materials until the 1950s, adding that Steven Spielberg’s famous film “E.T” originated from an alien toy produced by the Pascal Kaman Toy Company in 1982 and they have a sample from this toy in the museum too.
She said there are many toy museums in Europe and the U.S., and the number of these kinds of museums is increasing in Turkey every year.