Toy museums gather in Istanbul

Toy museums gather in Istanbul

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Toy museums gather in Istanbul

The founder of the Istanbul Toy Museum, Sunay Akın says Istanbul has been named the center of a toy museums union at a recent meeting held with the attendees of toy museum officials from various European cities.

Istanbul is on its way to becoming the “capital” of Europe’s children’s and toy museums after being named the center of the newly formed European Children’s and Toy Museums Union (TOYCO), according to the founder of an Istanbul museum.

Turkey’s largest city is now on the map in terms of toy museums, especially after it was named as the center of TOYCO at a recent meeting that drew officials from 28 children’s and toy museums from 14 European cities.

Istanbul Toy Museum founder Sunay Akın said the TOYCO meeting would be published in a bilingual, Turkish-English book which would be sent to museums around the world.

Since its foundation in 2005, the Istanbul Toy Museum has attended the meetings of the European Museum Academies and the European Museums Unions, the museum’s founder said. “At the end of seven years, I am so happy that we will form a union of children’s and toy museums, which have been opened one after another in recent years in Europe, in Istanbul,” he said.

He said the children’s and toy museums meeting was the first of its kind. “Europe cannot believe this meeting was held in Istanbul.”

Akın said the attendees of the meeting arrived in Turkey last week, first visiting the southeastern province of Gaziantep and the southern province of Antalya to observe the children’s and toy museums in those cities. The participants were all attracted by the museum management there, the museum director said.

Akın said the TOYCO meeting was held under the auspices of the Culture and Tourism Ministry and with the main sponsorship of the Turkish Textile Employers’ Union (TUTSIS) and that the main theme of the meeting was “rag doll.”
Explaining the relationship between textiles and toys by giving examples from his own life, Akın said: “I am the child of a tailor. My mother went to my father’s shop for a jacket and they met. This claret red jacket is hung on the wall at the entrance of the museum. I mean if this jacket hadn’t existed, I wouldn’t exist either. I spent my childhood in my father’s shop. My toys were pieces of cloth. I told this to TUTSIS Chairman Halit Narin and asked for his help to form the union of all European toy museums. He promised me support. We will also highlight the textile culture with the ‘rag doll’ theme.”

The TOYCO meeting, which ended yesterday after two days of discussions, was attended by representatives from Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Portugal as well as officials from the European Museum Forum (EMF) and the European Museums Academy (EMA).

Istanbul Toy Museum

The Istanbul Toy Museum was established in Göztepe neighborhood in 2005 at a historical mansion owned by Sunay’s family. The museum, which is the first of its kind in Turkey, exhibits nearly 5,000 toys collected by Akın himself from different countries throughout the world.

Most of the toys are from Germany, Britain, France, the United States, Japan and Turkey, but at least one example of toys from many other countries is exhibited in the museum.