They are not easy to find, but if you are, eager enough you will see a few. I will introduce you to one in Prague one in Copenhagen one in London and one in Helsinki in Finland.
In London, I have spent some hours chasing a Toy & Model Museum in Marylebone. I could read about in my guide-book, but nobody had ever heard about it. The happy ending to it was that I re-found the little Paddington Bear at Paddington Station.
The Victorian & Albert Museum has a lovely free museum in Bethnal Green “The Museum of Childhood”. You can see toys from the world. What most impressed me was to examine the toys given to the Royal families children more than a hundred years ago.
Last year I visited Helsinki on a Monday, and all museums were closed. We took a boat to an island and castle called Sveaborg and among the sights was a lovely private toy collection with a little cafe in the shop.
This spring in Prague I managed to visit their Toy Museum twice. The collection was put up beautifully in bright cases. Especially the beautiful porcelain or bisque dolls in original beautiful clothes and surroundings impressed me.
Muzeum Hracek, Toy Museum in Prague. Toys from the year 1900
In Denmark very little is left of toy museums. ” Olgas lyst ” in Copenhagen is a treasure to me.
When I was in my twenties and thirties, I had a much-appreciated hairdresser.
Only he could cut my hair!
He collected old dolls, and a doll house was placed on a fireplace shelf in his shop.
Then I immigrated to Sweden with my four children. I never intended to come back. I came back and realised that the shop was gone. No one to ask!
As my interest for old toys grew I wanted to find every toy museum also in Denmark. I called the place and got an appointment to see the museum. First the voice sounded as he was too busy to open it for me, but a little later he asked:
“When can you come”?
Arriving at “Olgas Lyst” I was overwhelmed to recognise Erik, my old hairdresser. He had become ill from the chemistry in the hair products and had taken early retirement. He had spent the first year making a replica of a huge dollhouse at the Danish National Museum called “Olgas Lyst”, which he often had gone to see in his childhood.
That has become the name of his excellent collection, and it was not my last visit.