A Return to Childhood in the Nuremberg Toy Museum

Nuremberg is an iconic city which combines the Bavarian pastoral quaintness with the modern amenities of a metropolis, The city was infamous as the headquarters of the Nazi Party so it paid its toll in the last years of World War II, when it was nearly levelled to the ground. However, the post-war years saw the city restored to its former glory, including all the historical houses, who were rebuilt to resemble their previous appearance. One of such edifices houses the Nuremberg Toy Museum, one of the most famous tourist attractions of Nuremberg.

A PROJECT OF TOY ENTHUSIASTS

The museum is located in Nuremberg’s old town, in Karlstraße 13. The house it is located in was built in 1517 and it belonged to Wilhelm Haller, therefore earning its name of Hallerscher House. However, Haller probably couldn’t guess that some four centuries ago his house will be visited by thousands of tourists each year.

The core of today’s museum collection was the effort of Lydia and Paul Bayer, who collected some 12,000 toys in the 1920s with the idea of saving them for future generations. However, the museum was not founded until the late 1960s, when the city took over the Hallerscher House and expanded the Bayer collection, only to open the doors of the Toy Museum in 1971.

NUREMBERG—THE CITY OF TOYS

The art of toy-making dates back to the beginning of the 15th century, when the first professionals were registered. The materials used for the first toys were clay, which was soon replaced by wood and porcelain, enabling the artists to incorporate intricate details into their toys, all made to be unique.

Through time, the introduction of tin as the primary production material and organized manufacturing enabled the artists to increase their production and establish Nuremberg as the toy-making capital in the late 1800s, expanding the toy designs that they were able to create.

Nevertheless, the post-WW2 age and the introduction of cheap materials and mass-production of toys caused the decline of Nuremberg as a toy-making capital of the world; however, the production of artisan toys continued and is very much alive even to this day.

A TRIP THROUGH TIME

Before entering the museum, you’ll be welcomed by the Gockelreiterbrunnen, or Rooster Rider Fountain. The first floor houses old dolls and dollhouses, whose intricate details prove the skill of the artisan toy-makers. The second floor is mostly filled with a very large collection of E. P. Lehmann toys, and the road through the exhibitions gives you a fantastic insight into the development of this toy company which produced cars, train sets, and other tin toys. The third floor is dedicated to the toys current generations are more familiar with, telling the history of toys after WW2 up to the present day. The post-1945 toys include Barbie, Playmobil, Sesame Street, My Little Pony, and Atari game consoles to name but a few.

To sum up, let us give you a couple of pro tips—children are allowed to a really big discount, while adults can also save if they buy a package ticket which includes all the city museums. And if you don’t know when the right time to visit is, have no doubt and visit Nuremberg around Christmas so you can enjoy the magic of toys along with the wonderful Christkindlmarkt.

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