Collections of Athens Toy Museum

Collections of Athens Toy Museum

The collections of the Benaki Toy Museum are all based on the various aspects of the theme "Child and Play". The 3,000 exhibits currently seen on display will alternate with other games and objects through thematic exhibitions.

At the entrance, the visitor is welcomed by a large doll of Dionysis Fotopoulos and a wooden horse, a gift of Eleftherios Venizelos to his favorite grandson, Lefterakis.

The itinerary begins with children’s games from the Roman antiquity to Byzantine times. In the main exhibition area, a room is dedicated to traditional Greek society. In other displays, one admires dolls in Greek costumes, miniatures, a doll of Queen Olga and the shadow theater. There are soldiers and war games, dolls from children’s literature, comics and heroes from the movies.

The Hellenic-related display includes traditional children's toys spanning the Classical, Roman, Byzantine, and post-Byzantine periods, as well as handmade playthings by retirees to replicate their youthful pastimes.  They cover toys dating from the 18th to the 20th Century, articles from country festivals, 20th-Century commercial products, team sports, board games, and seasonal games.

Examples are the Dough "koutsouna" dolls by Maria Papavasili. Karpathos island, the Lampros Tzavellas shadow-theatre figure, by Pavlos Marmaras and the Clay plate and basket with eggs, by Vasiliki Makridou, from the late 20th century.

The European-related display consists of both urban and rural popular toys dating through the 17th to the 20th Centuries, mainly from Britain, France, and Germany. The collection also includes European dolls depicting classical outfits that had their origins from different areas in Greece.   

Examples are the Wind-up clockwork porter made of hard plastic. Japan, 1970s. The Mechanical girl with pram, by William Fazz Goodwin, USA, 1858 and the "La Concierge" tin mechanical toy, by Fernand Martin, France, 1895. Historical background: Fernand Martin was among the first to launch the "Les petits bonshommes" little tin figures on the European market. These were clockwork wind-up figures that depicted everyday people, tradesmen and quaint individuals of the era. In 1912, Bonnet & Cie company continued Martin's company.


 


Toy Museum of Athens
Collections of Athens Toy Museum



 

▶︎ War Museum of Greece
▶︎ Hellenic Maritime Museum
▶︎ Hellenic Children's Museum
▶︎ Museum of Greek Children's Art
▶︎ Museum of Illusions
▶︎ Toy Museum of Athens
▶︎ Athens Olympic Museum