Slovenski etnografski muzej

Toys between Memory and Inspiration
Razstavna hiša
3. December 2021
1. March 2022

Toys between Memory and Inspiration

During the festive season, we present selected toys from the newly arranged collection of around 1,000 toys from the second half of the 20th century. The collection was donated to the Slovene Ethnographic Museum in 2000 by Professor Helmut Anthes (1935–2010), the then director of the current Michelstadt City Museum in Germany.

SEM acquired the collection on the initiative of the then curator of social culture, Tanja Tomažič. The collection of toys that were in use in Germany is very extensive and includes around 1000 objects or play sets, among which miniature dollhouses with interiors from the 1950s to the 1970s stand out in particular. While arranging them, we cleaned the items and restored them if necessary. We researched their history, use and time of origin, and processed the data in a museum documentation programme. We present a selection of toys at the exhibition. You are also invited to visit the exhibition of miniature interiors on the transition from the ground to the first floor, which will take you to the exhibition OURSELVES AT THE TABLE: From the Material to the Symbolic.

Toys are an important part of the collections of modern-day ethnological museums, as they contribute to a comprehensive presentation of the way of life in a certain period, space and social environment. The first objects intended for play found their place in SEM collections as early as 1923, when the Royal Ethnographic Museum was established, and they were originally part of the collections of the Provincial Museum in Ljubljana. Dedicated collecting of toys began in the late 1970s and 1980s, and in 1979 SEM prepared the first exhibition of children's toys in Slovenia.

Memories of play, playing and toys are certainly among the most pleasant childhood memories that just about everyone has. The exhibited toys thus evoke memories in the older visitors, and give the younger generation an insight into how children played in the past, before the advent of digital toys and computer games. They may also inspire them to reach for older toys that their parents and grandparents played with.  

Igrače med spominom in navdihom / Toys between Memory and Inspiration
Avtorica / Author: Tjaša Zidarič
Strokovni sodelavki / Expert collaborators: Nena Židov, Polona Sketelj
Restavriranje predmetov / Restoration of objects: Ana Motnikar, Tjaša Zidarič
Lektoriranje / Proofreading: Vilma Kavšček
Prevod / Translation: Romana Mlačak
Grafično oblikovanje / Graphic design: Luka Kern
Fotografije / Photographs: Tjaša Zidarič
SEM, zanj / represented by: Natalija Polenec, direktorica / Director