The Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague has been collecting toys from its inception in 1885; currently, this collection totals some 3,500 items. For their most part, these toys are from the Bohemian Lands and the German-speaking regions, dating from the 18th century to the present. In terms of materials, they are made of wood, metals, textile, porcelain, ceramics, paper and plastic or rubber. The largest number of toys are dolls and their accessories, dolls’ houses and their furnishings, small-size furniture, rocking horses and baby carriages, sets of tin soldier figures, building and construction kits, board games, early 20th-century modern toys, Czech designer toys of the second half of the 20th century, plastic toys and, last but not least, a collection of miniature Matchbox car models.
The first part of the exhibition features a selection of historic mostly French and German dolls and dolls’ houses dating from the 19th to the beginning of the 20th centuries. Dolls’ houses reflect period decor and style. These are joined by multiple-piece tin and lead toy soldiers, townsmen or countrymen from the 19th century. Building and construction kits and board games were used by both girls and boys for group games to entertain and educate them.
The second part of the exhibition is devoted to the much-loved wooden toys created throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. These playthings document the variety of approaches both in the way they were hand-manufactured and the wide scope of themes they spanned, from realistic to fantasy pieces – from traditional folk-art figurines and wood-carved animals, to stylized toys with one-of-a-kind designs, to building and construction kits, and figure and animal jigsaw puzzles.
The third part of the exhibition focuses on toys made of other kinds of materials, especially plastics and rubber, which are among the latest additions to the museum’s toy collection. Having undergone many technological innovations particularly in the course of the 20th century, plastic gave rise to new types of toys, such as blow-up furniture for children, water toys and squeeze toys. Inflatable animals designed by the Czech toy designer Libuše Niklová for the company Fatra Napajedla have earned her worldwide recognition.
You are invited to visit two other exhibition displays housed in the Kamenice nad Lipou chateau; to purchase discount entrance tickets to all areas of the chateau, please click HERE.