Take a Peek into the “World of Toys”

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The Ethnographic Museum will be taken over by toys until the end of May. They will be presented in four different exhibitions – Toys from the Croatian Heritage, From the World of Toys, Polish Traditional Toys, and Toys Have a Heart. The entire project has been titled “The World of Toys”, and apart from all of the exhibits, the visitors will also have an opportunity to enjoy numerous workshops and concurrent toy-related events.

The project unifies four large exhibitions – Toys from the Croatian Heritage and From the World of Toys (December 1st 2012 – May 31st 2013), as well as Polish Traditional Toys (December 6th 2012 – March 6th 2013) and Toys Have a Heart (March 21st – May 31st 2013). Apart from viewing the exhibitions, visitors will also benefit from numerous workshops and other concurrent events in which they will learn how toys were made throughout history, which materials were used, how toys are tied to particular traditions; they will also become familiar with the tradition of puppetry, theatre art and so on. Part of this colourful world will end up in the visitors’ homes as the museum souvenir shop will feature an expanded offer of products inspired by toys from the Croatian heritage, including jewellery, postcards, textile products…

The central exhibition, Toys from the Croatian Heritage, presents a real diversity of traditional Croatian toys, most of them the property of the Ethnographic Museum, but also others that were made by children in Croatian schools and kindergartens. The exhibition also features various tools and materials, and demonstrates a range of traditional production methods. The wooden toy-making tradition and art of the Dalmatian hinterland, the villages of Prigorje and the Zagorje region have been included on the UNESCO list of intangible heritage. This exhibition also features a multimedia presentation of toy-making, and it also presents the masters of Zagorje and Prigorje through an array of documentary films.

The exhibition From the World of Toys shows how toy production developed – from stuffed toys, to metal and mechanical toys, to plastic toys that still “rule” the world. This exhibition features a selection of toys from the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Russia and the Ukraine, while a special section is reserved for lead soldiers from the collection of the Ethnographic Museum.

The Zagreb audience will also have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with traditional toys from Poland, as a number of them have been brought over from the Toy and Games Museum in Kielc, which boasts some 10,000 exhibits. Of course, only part of that is presented in Zagreb, mostly toys from traditional Polish production. Between the 1940s and the 1990s the cooperatives in Poland went into toy production overdrive in order to put smiles back on the Polish people’s faces after the Second World War. Most of those toys were made from wood, metal, plush and canvas, while some were also constructed as mobile, machine-turned-toys.

What we have described here is merely a part of the atmosphere surrounding the entire project staged by the Ethnographic Museum, therefore we have no doubt that our readers will be tempted to visit the exhibition in order  to find out more, learn about toys, as well as enjoy their familiar and somewhat less familiar, colourful world.

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