Tartu Toy Museum is a charming place to visit for people of all ages - toys tell also about the Estonian history

The nursery of a wealthy citizen from the beginning of the 20th century. Photos: Sirpa Pääkkönen
Tartu is a very charming small town in Estonia with the Old Town where the buildings represent classicism and are renovated very well. Besides the Old Town you can wander in the old wood house  parts of the city. In Tartu there are a lot of museums, hills and the river Ema crosses the city..

What I’d like to recommend seeing in Tartu besides the architecture is the Toy Museum in Tartu’s Old Town. It’s not only toys but also history what you can sense there, because the toys reflect the many changes Estonia has experienced throughout centuries.
Toys from Soviet time.

The permanent exhibition of the Tartu Toy Museum is on display in three old houses. The exhibition features living pictures of dolls and toys with which children have played throughout the ages: the porcelain dolls, tin soldiers, stone blocks and old teddy bears of city kids, the wood-carved animals and tools of country kids, rag dolls and trick toys, nostalgic paper dolls and board games.
A family at the doll house.

A special display to see is the 1950s and 1960s’ composition and celluloid dolls, rubber toys and handmade vehicles, the 1970s and 1980s’ toys made by the Norma, Salvo and Polümeer factories, and the 1990s and 2000s’ animation heroes and dolls that have gained a cult status.

In addition, there are displays of artist-made dolls, the traditional toys and souvenir dolls of various nations of the world, copies of medieval toys and a rare collection of Estonian film dolls and puppets.

The Tartu Toy Museum was opened on 1994.  By the end of 2003, Tartu Toy Museum moved into an old wooden house in Lutsu Street, which was specially renovated for the museum.

The Toy Museum’s house is one of the oldest surviving wood buildings in Tartu. It was built at the beginning of 1770s and presents elements from both late baroque and classicism. The house was first used by Russian church and later as the school of Tartu garrison. Still later the building passed on to private owners. In 1998 the town bought the house for the Toy Museum. It was renovated in 2002-2003 to look like it did back in the 18th century.

The world of the 20th toys.
The address is Lutsu St. 8, and the museum is open Wednesday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The Toy Museum's house was built at the beginning of 1770s.


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