Toying with History
Wouldn’t you just love to be a collector of toys?
For those who scoff at toys as articles of puerile interest, you just might have to swallow your words. Toys are not mere playthings – the Mint Museum in Singapore would tell you as much.
Toys collected painstakingly from all over the world, representing every possible kind of character fashioned to capture the imagination of children- and adults- across the globe, array the shelves of the five-storeyed building of the Mint Museum of Toys. They transport you to different eras altogether- you would see the games and fictional characters that captured your grandparents’ fancy, grew larger than life, continue to entertain you now, and will go on doing so for a long time to come. Popular superheroes Batman and Superman, comic-book detective Tintin and the evil Darth Vader don’t quit impressional minds very easily, do they? When you see them immortalized as toys and preserved for posterity, you cannot help but get nostalgic and search within for the child that you once were.
And it isn’t just comic-book and science fiction heroes. Musicians like the Beatles and the Monkees find a place at the museum in various avatars. Whole war scenes are played out in miniature models. Look around, you’ll find tractors and Indian buses (a look at them confirms their ‘nationality’!), cars with the logos of oil companies splashed across their bodies, jointed dolls from Germany, Barbie dolls, even the controversial Golliwogs (an interesting bit of history). If you’re looking for skilled craftsmanship, the German jointed dolls and handmade dolls should satiate your curiosity. The humblest dolls from various parts of the world are displayed in their aged glory (evidenced in a few stained and frayed garments), and you are naturally moved by the tender attention that has been given to the preservation of these creations.
A sizeable section of the toys on display is reminiscent of China- Hong Kong toymaker Michael Lee’s work has been celebrated through various creations of his. An impetus of this sort bodes well for the preservation of indigenous craft, and is an example that deserves to be emulated across the world.
And if you want a bit of history for yourself, you always have the souvenir shop- as always, strategically placed at the entrance-exit to the museum. The collection is enticing, and you would have to be an android yourself not to succumb to the temptations of the toys. Because, after all, you’re never too old for the games of childhood.