Nuremberg has always been a toy city of world renown, its tradition stretching from the "Dockenmacher" (doll makers) of mediaeval times to outstanding tin figure manufacturers and numerous tin toy producers in the industrial age, up to the International Toy Fair, the world´s most important trade fair of its kind.
Nuremberg Toy Museum in the very heart of the Old Town is part of this rich cultural heritage. Its comprehensive and exceptionally high quality collection spans the time from antiquity to the present day, with a strong focus on the past two centuries. Since opening in 1971, the museum, which is based on the collection of Lydia and Paul Bayer, has attracted more than five million visitors from all over the world.
The four floors behind the Renaissance façade of a Nuremberg town residence encompass the entire variety of historic toys. Wooden toys await visitors on the ground floor. On the first floor, dolls and exquisite dolls' houses allow a glimpse of life in centuries past. The world's most comprehensive collection of E. P. Lehmann toys tells the fascinating history of this famous German family company. A "Tin World" is presented on the second floor. Vehicles, toy train sets and steam engines are testimony to the exceptional role played by Nuremberg toy producers in the field of technical toys. One of the museum's highlights is the 30 square meter model train layout (scale 1:64, gauge S) which recreates the American railway junction in Omaha/Nebraska in incredible detail.
Recent toy history may be found on the top floor, in an attractively designed exhibition space. Exhibits go from the makeshift toys of the immediate post-war years to the high-tech toys of today: Barbie, Lego and Playmobil, as well as Schuco cars (displayed in a sixties exhibition stand), robots, space toys and fantasy figures. Effectively staged, the lively "toy show cases" mirror important social developments. Pocket-size dioramas invite visitors on a journey through the recent past at six time stations.
A large, artistically designed room invites our small visitors to try out a wealth of group games and games of skill, to experiment with various construction systems or to explore a "play relief". They may paint and do handicrafts, try identifying toys by touch in special boxes, end even make the stars rise in the sky. A trained educator helps the children to use the many varied play possibilities in this area.
Between early May and late October, a large, attractively designed outdoor play area (700 square metres) is available for children and families. At the same time, the museum unit "Shadowland" lures visitors into late mediaeval cellar vaults: in the course of a 30-minute guided tour, visitors may find out why playing with light and shade has always fascinated people and has led to the development of a great variety of optical toys.
The museum rounds off its range with publications on the history of toys, with guided tours, an audio guide in ten languages (including a special tour for children in English), games days, children's birthday parties and a well-stocked museum shop. In the summer months, the idyllic museum courtyard with its typical Nuremberg baluster gallery features the museum café "La Kritz" which invites visitors for a leisurely break with coffee and cake, cold drinks and little treats.
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