Toy Museum in the Old Town Hall Tower

Marienplatz, Munich

Ivan Steiger Family Collection



Since 1983, a unique collection of historical European and American toys has been housed on four floors of a Gothic tower on Marienplatz in the heart of Munich. From the ticket office area on the first floor, where a small selection of exhibits will arouse your curiosity, a lift will take you to the fifth floor at the top of the tower. From here, you can comfortably negotiate the spiral stairs down the tower from one room to the next and rediscover childhood dreams of yesteryear.

A large family of traditional teddy bears is grouped around a historical Christmas tree amid a pile of presents on the fifth floor of the museum which also houses the oldest toys, made of wood, paper, lead and wax, as well as finds from prehistoric digs. A toy altar for priests-to-be, a remarkable Biedermeier milliner’s shop in original condition, and a Noah’s Ark with ‘animals entering two by two’ are particularly noteworthy.

The history of soft toys and teddy bears is clearly documented in the form of the oldest bears, photographs and patterns from the Steiff company archives.

This is followed by a collection of hand-painted ‘wonders’ – tin toys from America, Germany and France that can either be pulled along or wound up.

On the fourth floor, visitors pass the ‘Honorary Citizens’ Room’ of the City of Munich that is not open to the public, and reach the third floor with a view of Marienplatz and Tal.

Here, steam-engines can be seen rattling away, mechanical tin men and women working or having fun, merry-go-rounds spinning round, dolls and teddy bears at school and tobogganists speeding down a run. Elastolin figures and scenes from the archives of the HAUSSER company, one of the most important toy manufacturers in Germany, form a fascinating attraction on the third floor. This includes huts, farmhouses and stables, a zoo, exotic and domestic animals, figures of country folk and city dwellers, foresters, soldiers from the two World Wars, Native Americans, trappers and creatures from Mars. All Elastolin and Lineol figures are made of a composite material of sawdust, kaolin and casein moulded on a wire armature.

On the same floor, visitors can compare china dolls, with their lovely but insipid faces, with those made after the Reform movement. These so-called ‘character dolls’ stand out due to their lively facial expressions and charm.

In addition to a model of an ancient kitchen with an open hearth, outstanding items from special exhibitions held at our museum can be found here. For boys: tin robots, rockets, spaceships and a particularly rare clay Golem – a figure from Jewish folklore. For girls: more than one hundred Barbie dolls, including the legendary # 1, # 2 and # 3, with their pale milky complexion, and a complete first set of 21 items of clothing from 1959.

The second floor of the tower is dedicated to technical toy cars, trains and other means of transport from before World War I until after World War II (‘Made in the US Zone’), where an extensive collection of toy and model railways can be found. Old wheeled toys for the sandpit are grouped together with wind-up, electrical and steam-operated trains of various gauges and makes such as Märklin and Bing, together with all sorts of extras.

Air and road transport is documented in the form of wind-up cars, ranging from the early carriage automobile to Märklin’s construction kits and Schuco model cars, the Lehmann series of lithographed cars and other wind-up toys, Zeppelins and aeroplanes.
Valuable French mechanical cars from the early 18th century form a contrast to cheap, die-cut, wind-up tin toys or magical glittery toys made of lower-grade metal.
The pre-1875 tin furniture displayed in a two-roomed dolls’ house was produced by Rock & Graner.

At the end of the 19th century, graphic comics first saw the light of day in the American press. The heroes on paper soon became popular toys as well. ‘The Yellow Kid’ – a young rascal – came onto the market after ‘Max and Moritz’, followed by Charlie Chaplin, Happy Hooligan, Felix the Cat, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pinocchio, Popeye and many more.

On the first floor, where the visit starts and finishes, the oldest dolls made of wax, porcelain and wood are displayed. Your attention will also be drawn to ships of all sorts, with divers and fish swimming among them. Above these, there is an unique collecion of gleaming lithographed tin ‘penny toys’: toys that are generally not bigger than ten centimetres and that children could buy with their pocket money without having to ask their parents for permission!

As a special service for our visitors, there is a Museum Shop in the ticket office area selling specialist publications, reproductions of old toys, reprints of old children’s books, games and postcards.


Opening times:
Every day from 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Admission:
Children € 1  Adults € 4  Family ticket € 8 (incl. children under 15)

Group ticket (for more than 10 people) € 3 per person

 

Spielzeugmuseum im Alten Rathausturm,

Marienplatz 15,

80331 Munich,

tel.:  089/294001

 

office

tel.: 089/2711969

fax 089/2717014

www.toymuseum.de

www.spielzeugmuseum-muenchen.de

www.barbiemuseum.cz

www.barbiemuseum.eu

www.ivan-steiger.de