The origins of the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel
It all started with a passionate interest in the Basel Autumn Fair – and a beautiful old carousel: the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel (Toy Worlds Museum Basel) was born of the fascination for the colourful gaiety, bustle and variety of the booths at the “Mäss” (the fair). The former fair showman and artist Marc Rippstein was commissioned to reproduce the scene, scale 1:12; this was to become the foundation of the collection now on show in the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel.
The model, with its lovingly designed and authentically dressed figures, was so irresistibly delightful that the idea cropped up of showing it to the general public. Several other acquisitions were added, and when an exceptionally well-preserved carousel was bequeathed to the collection, the decision was made to open the collection to the public: the launching of the Spielzeug Welten Museum was underway.
The oldest carousel in today’s collection is over 100 years old and dates from around 1900. The fairground rides by the artist Frans Smulders and the Autumn Fair by Marc Rippstein – continually enlarged over the years – were made in the second half of the 20th century. A speciality of the Basel collection: all carousels and rides are motorised and can be set in motion at the touch of a button.