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Travel guide for Thuringia, Germany

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Thuringia, Germany
Thuringia tourist destination in Germany

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A visit to the "Deutsche Spielzeugmuseum" (Toy Museum) in Sonneberg, Thuringia, Germany

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Contact Information:

Deutsches Spielzeugmuseum
Beethovenstraße 10
96515 Sonneberg
Phone: 011 49 3675 - 70 28 56
Fax: 011 49 3675 - 74 28 17

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday: 9.00 am to 17.00 pm
Monday: closed

For many years we sold wooden toys from the "Erzgebirge" and artist dolls in Canada. No wonder that we are interested in the history of toys. Unfortunately, Elizabeth, my wife was not with me when I had the opportunity to visit one of the most popular museums of this kind.
The museum was established in 1901 and moved in the just finished building shown on the left side. Besides many articles produced in the region it was already mostly dedicated to toys because Sonneberg was considered as "Santa's workshop".
One of the main attractions of the museum was added in the early 19 th century - the so called "Thüringer Kirmes" (Thuringian kermis) after it was returned from the World exhibition in Brussels.
Our web site is not intended to replace an actual visit. We just try to raise your interest to spend at least half a day in this place and to learn many things related to toys.

Sonneberg, toy museum, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
The "Toy Museum" in Sonneberg

I did not get scared away by the heavy wooden door which was the entrance to the museum. I just pushed hard enough and it opened.
Because of the age of the building and lack of funding only a small part of the museum was accessible for handicapped people.
The museum did not provide scheduled guided tours. It offers so called "self guided tours" where the visitors can read many information on boards as long as they understand German. Please use above contact information if you are interested as a group or a well paying visitor in any special presentations.
The missing information in any other language than German is a serious drawback in many museums in former East Germany. Just express your disappointment maybe it will change things in the future.
Nevertheless, if you are interested in the history of toys, don't use this as an excuse not to visit this great museum.

Sonneberg, toy museum, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
A little gift store is attached to the ticket counter

I was fascinated from the building and how everything was arranged and displayed in the "Deutsche Spielzeugmuseum" how it is officially called.
Much renovation work has been done in the years after the unification. But more work is needed to organize the archives to allow easier access for research.
Especially, the extensive library is used by an international clientele. It contains over 30 000 publications which can be used within the museum by anybody.
Naturally, the museum is always looking for supporters which pledge either money or anything of interest to the collections.
I recommended to look for volunteers who are willing to do translations to make the self guided tours more attractive to foreigners.
My pledge is this web site in English.

Sonneberg, toy museum, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
Not suitable for people in wheelchairs

In medieval times craftsmen mainly produced toys only for the nobles and the rich people who had the money to make their children happy.
The favorites were knights and horses.
Kids from poor families had to use home made toys or play with dices or use the popular board games.
Certainly outdoor activities and work kept the little ones very busy. When I was young, we had very often great fun without any toys - certain games kept us busy a whole afternoon and my parents did not have to spend any money. These games kept us also healthy and slim. Overweight was not a problem at this time!

Sonneberg, toy museum, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
Medieval toys

Already in the antique craftsmen in Egypt, Greece and Rome produced toys, such as balls, marbles and spinning tops. Others were related to religion and cults. It is obviously not easy to decide today what was just a toy and what served in addition other purposes like bringing luck etc. At least I could not do that.
I was amazed about what I saw. Unfortunately, many of my photos are not suitable because of the glares caused by the glass cabinets.
If you are interested in seeing more, there is no better way than to come to the museum and see it with your own eyes. You will not be disappointed.

Sonneberg, toy museum, Thuringia, tourism, travel guide
Toys from antique Egypt can certainly not be seen everywhere

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