A doll plays in the toy grocery shop, teddy bears race one another in pedal cars, an entire amusement park is set into motion at the push of a button.
With more than 6,000 objects, the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel (Toy Worlds Museum Basel) is unique across the world in its abundance and quality.
Accommodated in a building from 1867, it lies in the heart of Basel. Its cheery, lovingly arranged display windows have meanwhile become famous far and wide: they attract visitors of all ages and are an invitation to discover a world full of wonders.
Antique collectors’ pieces, novelties and exquisite art toys are kissed awake to new life here, in a space of more than 1,000 square metres and arranged on four storeys. Moreover, the museum feels deeply committed to carrying on the tradition of high-quality craftsmanship. All the exhibits are restored with love and care and retain their original unique charm. They are arranged in cross-referenced thematic domains faithful to the original. Most of them come from the decades around 1900. In addition, a contemporary miniature collection created by diverse artists presents everyday scenes from all over the world.
Special temporary exhibitions on a wide variety of topics beckon visitors on a foray into new cultural realms, shining a spotlight on the unknown and placing the exhibits in a – sometimes surprising – historical context.
Whether fanciful, idiosyncratic or simply beautiful: common to all exhibits is the overall love of detail. Many have done their time in the playroom; others, meanwhile, were intended from the very start as purely showpiece objects to please the eye.
More than 2,500 bears and countless dolls have made the museum famous and populate the whole house. A place of honour is given to the teddy bears made by Steiff: the oldest model in the house dates from 1904! Practically all notable firms from the heyday of doll manufacture between 1870 and 1920 are represented in the superabundant Basel collection.