The German Toy Museum is Gayangi von Heimendahl’s personal collection of toys – dolls, cars, train sets, you name it – from Germany, over the span of 35 years. The collection is circa 1800-1900s.
The museum is down Havelock Road opposite Crusty’s, inside a large house that declares GERMAN TOY MUSEUM on a faded billboard. You have to pull a dubious looking string at the gate to ring the bell. These days you’ll probably meet Wijewardena there, a sprightly mustached man who’ll show you up the museum stairs. Before climbing a second flight of stairs to the museum, you’ll be met by the smiling clown in the picture above. I told Wijewardena this place must be scary at nights – he concurred. The ticket for viewing is Rs. 100.
The collection is amazing. While you walk around taking a look, an audio clip is switched on that tells visitors about the toys and some of the stories behind them. The dolls are stylized very differently from the ones we’re used to – they seem almost real.
Interestingly, many of the toy sets here display real scenes – from butcher shops, flower shops, grocery stores, and so on.
Most of the toys are miniature but there are also large dolls like the ones above.
The German Toy Museum is an extremely fascinating visit. Some of the toys are eerie, because we’ve watched Chucky, and one wonders if the toys get lonely sitting in their glass cases without anybody to play with them (actually I think that’s just me) – while the detail in the toys and the variety within the museum is just plain amazing. The trip will be a treat for children, but even better for adults because some of the finer nuances of this vast collection will be lost on kids.