I read recently that Mexico City has more museums than any other city in the world. Or was it more museums per square mile? I can’t remember. And I have no idea if it is true or not, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were. There are museums for everyone, of all tastes. Some are big and famous. Others are small and so well hidden that they are almost little secrets, known and frequented by only an elite and discreet few. The Antique Toy museum is just such a place.
The nuseum isn’t far from Metro Obrera, just a stop away from Metro Chabacano, one of the larger stations on the system. But it’s easy to miss. It’s housed in a fairly non-descript building with a shop front that is headed with a sign declaring it to be some sort of Chinese/Japanese restaurant. Although the window full of toys does give the game away some what, if you’ve taken time to look. I didn’t and walked 20 minutes past it, before doubling back. Head in the clouds? Not at all. No such thing here. Head in the smog….you’ve been reading my recent posts haven’t you?! I should have looked a little more carefully at the map.
I managed to find my way to it, and inside it, in the end. It’s staffed by a collection of nationalities, or so it seemed, who keep one step ahead of you as you make your way round, turning on the lights to each area as they go. Then keep a step behind, turning them off as I depart. I think I actually preferred the lights off. The dark, dusty atmosphere rather complements a collection of antiques.
The largest, bizarre, surreal and unique collection preserved by one single collector in the heart of Mexico City. Be overwhelmed by this dynamic assamblages made with toys…
So says the leaflet handed to me with a friendly greeting as I entered. It wasn’t my last encounter with the staff there. I was approached a further three times by different people wanting to know what had brought me here to their museum, where I was from and what I do. Anywhere else and I think I’d have become quite paranoid. As it was, I rather suspected I was the first gringo to make it through their doors, and caused a great deal of curiosity as to how I could possibly have found them. Or maybe I really just looked like an international master toy thief…! Anyway, I found it through that great old fashioned marketing system…word of mouth. One of my students had been in there a couple of weeks earlier.
So the toys. Time for the important stuff. If you like model trains, lucha libre dolls, scalextric, cowboys and indians, toy soldiers, robots, sticker albums, meccano, dolls, Matchbox cars….I could go on and on and on. Five big rooms full of antique toys. The inside is just what the sign on the outside suggests it is. There’s a lot of dedication within those walls I tell you. Not that there isn’t room for improvement – the displays could be more accessible.
They’d respond by pointing out that they have too many kids come through to permit ‘touching’. There was a class full of them, running and screaming during my visit. I suspect, therefore, their response would be spot on. I withdraw, regretfully, my suggestion. Although I really did want to pick out the old Panini (or Panini style, at least) sticker albums for Mexican football leagues of years gone by for a closer browse. Still, I will stand by this recommendation – their blog would be easier to get to with a shorter url. They do have a website though, which is more sensibly http attired. Photos? Of course – click here. Worth a visit? If you have the time, and are passing….sure, why not?