The respect shown to every exhibit on display is evident both within the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel (Toy Worlds Museum Basle) and in its show windows in the prominent pedestrian precinct in the centre of Basel. Adequate space has been given to the displays throughout the four floors totalling more than 1,000 square metres. Like the precious exhibits, this venerable building which dates from 1867, has been completely restored to the highest technical and architectural standards. Access by wheelchair is assured on all four floors, including the Ristorante La Sosta on the ground floor and the exhibition rooms on the top floor. The highest standards for an up-to-date museum have been integrated. The same high standards applied to the architecture were also incorporated into the exhibition’s concept. The exhibits can be seen in spacious, specially-finished wood and glass showcases. The items on display are presented in an imaginative and playful way and grouped by theme.
There isn’t a wall of signs obstructing your viewing experience. And in the absence of a misplaced penchant for systematic organization, the objects are not simply arranged based on time period, subject and origin. Those who are well-versed on the subject at hand and want to learn more can find the desired information quickly and easily on their own smartphones or tablets using the interactive museum guide, the interactive touchscreens on the info consoles, or the catalogue.
The toys are displayed as if they are interacting with each other. Large dolls play in shops. Teddy bears on pedal cars engage in a dogged race. And an entire amusement park can be set in motion at the push of a button. Sophisticated computer controls breathe life into the goings-on. High-tech antiques complete the whole perfectly.
With more than 6,000 items, the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel (Toy Worlds Museum Basle) is the largest of its kind in Europe. On the lower floors of the Museum, the main focus centres on doll’s houses and shops. Many have rendered service in real playrooms. Others were purely conceived to be looked at. There were no limits to the pursuit of perfection and the desire to create an object true to scale. Careful workmanship, individuality, imagination, beauty and an overall love for detail are shown in all the items, whether they are noble toys or exclusive pieces of art.
The Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel (Toy Worlds Museum Basle) feels committed to carrying on the tradition of high-quality craftsmanship. Though most of the exhibits date from the decades before and after the beginning of the 20th century, there are also contemporary miniatures and other objects on the third floor. The aim of any new contracts awarded by the Museum are mainly for unconventional items.
Furthermore, the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel (Toy Worlds Museum Basle) broadens its collection topics several times a year. Special exhibitions on a wide variety of topics beckon visitors on a foray into new cultural realms, shining a spotlight on the unknown and unnoticed.
The display windows facing the street are redecorated at regular intervals. As the seasons go by, so the themes vary and invite the busy passer-by to come and linger for a while.
Teddy bears and dolls inhabit the whole house. The most renowned doll manufacturers during the peak period between about 1870 and 1920, when the manufacture of dolls was flourishing, are all represented in the Museum. A place of honour on the fourth floor is given to those teddies who had their heyday in children’s playrooms shortly after the turn of the 20th century. This boom in bears derives from the hunting episode in 1902 of the late American President Theodore Roosevelt. Just two years later, in 1904, our oldest teddy bear first saw the light of day. This teddy bear is together with another especially attractive bear, which was presented as a gift to a friend by the above-mentioned President, as weIl as over two thousand other teddies dating mostly from before 1950. A remarkable number of them were made by Steiff and have the legendary button in the ear. This famous manufacturer is represented in our collection by a variety of different models ranging over several decades. Even someone wanting to take a look at other strong traditional American or European brands will get their money’s worth at the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel (Toy Worlds Museum Basle). The Basel collection shows a variety and quality which is unique in the world.
the world of the Museum
A public tour is offered once a month. It includes the entire Museum and the special exhibition. Workshops and competitions are held in conjunction with the current special exhibitions from the end of October to the beginning of April. Also not to be forgotten is Museums Night in January with its many attractions.
A mecca for gift hunters and collectors
The Boutique at the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel (Toy Worlds Museum Basle) offers everything that hearts young and old could desire. Here you will find a variety of gifts to satisfy every want, large or small. There are lucky finds for collectors and a range of unique and joy-bringing gifts.
Ristorante La Sosta
The Ristorante La Sosta in the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel (Toy Worlds Museum Basle) is open daily to sate appetites great and small – with warm meals served all day. Seasonal and fresh menus, light snacks, fine sweets, enticing desserts, and cool drinks will transform every visit and break into an enjoyable experience. Outside or inside.