Calle Dr Olvera 15, Doctores, Cuauhtémoc, 06720 Ciudad de México, CDMX
It’s normal, when you visit the Museo del Juguete Antiguo for the first time, for your mind to have a hard time deciding if this exotic and cavernous multi-story building filled with old dolls is either creepy or magnificent. Maybe its both things, and maybe its ok to feel different things while going over the collection of this museum. The whole thing comes from the mind of architect Roberto Shimizu Kinoshita, who started collecting toys when he was 10 years old. The museum opened in 2006 and its collection is made up of over 20,000 toys from the XIX century to the 1980s; in this collection you can see a period in the history of the country told from a different perspective, in this case, through toys, housed in a big 4 story building in the Colonia Doctores (Doctors Neighborhood) of Mexico City. The collection is of course focused on Mexican toys, but even if you don’t like toys you can enjoy the eclectic and colorful nature of the installation.
The giant two-story black face with its mouth ajar and flanked by a couple of maracas should be an indication of what the museum is all about, the face is in the atrium of the building, and around it are 4 floors of colorful chaos that appear as if a cornucopia of ideas filled with toys just spilled out of the mind of an architect. There’s no real coordination or footnotes for the items on exhibit but they’re all placed on what appear to be makeshift display cases manufactured by the owner of the place or some other craftsman. At times there appears to be a theme that wants to emerge and that has lumped a group of toys in one corner based around some commonalities, but then the collection just goes back to being wondrous chaos.
There’s a gift shop on the first floor of the museum that sells vintage toys and helps support the museum, and upon request, the rooftop street art “speakeasy” can be accessed where one can view painting by Mexican and international artists, as well as get a good view of the surroundings. Sure, the Colonia Doctores is not known as one of the city’s premier tourist destinations, but it’s only a slight detour from downtown and is a couple of blocks away from Metro station “Obrera”, there’s a cost of $75 pesos to enter and it’s open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.