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Istanbul Toy Museum

Contains the most notable specimens of toy history from the 1700s to the present.
Istanbul Toy Museum
Leadership team

Sunay Akin (Founder)

Gürel Gürkan  ( Museum Director)

Figen Kadirogullari (Museum Operations Manager)

Gizem Aydin (Marketing and Communication Manager)

Headquarters
Istanbul, Turkey
Type
Children
Region served
Turkey
Year stablished
2005
Address
Omerpasa Street Dr. Zeki Zeren Street, No: 17 Goztepe / ISTANBUL
Social Media
Summary

The Istanbul Toy Museum is a museum dedicated to the collection and exhibition of toys from various eras and countries. Founded by Turkish poet and author Sunay Akin in 2005, the museum is located in the Goztepe neighbourhood of Istanbul, Turkey.

The museum's collection includes over 4,000 toys from Turkey and around the world, dating back as far as the 1700s. Visitors can view toys such as dolls, action figures, cars, trains, board games, and more. The museum's exhibits are designed to appeal to both children and adults, and are displayed in a playful and interactive manner.

In addition to the exhibits, the museum hosts workshops, lectures, and events for children and adults. The museum's educational programs are designed to promote creativity, imagination, and cultural understanding.

The Istanbul Toy Museum has received widespread acclaim and recognition for its unique collection and educational programs. It has been featured in numerous international publications and has won several awards, including the European Museum of the Year Award in 2011. The museum has also become a popular tourist attraction in Istanbul, drawing visitors from all over the world.


History

The Istanbul Toy Museum was founded on April 23, 2005, by Belgin Akin and poet/writer Sunay Akin. It is located in a historical mansion in Istanbul, Turkey. Sunay Akin, who had been collecting toys from antique shops and auctions in over 40 countries for more than 20 years, established the museum with the aim of presenting the history of toys in an entertaining and memorable way.

The museum showcases the most popular examples of toy history from the 1700s to the present day. The collection includes toys from various cultures and time periods, ranging from dolls, action figures, cars, trains, robots, space toys, and more. The museum has a unique approach to presenting the history of toys. For example, in the space toys section, the efforts to reach the moon are described, and in the train toys section, the industrial revolution is depicted through the language of toys. The museum's decoration was designed by the stage design artist Ayhan Dogan, making it a one-of-a-kind museum in the world as it was opened by a poet and designed by a stage design artist.

One of the notable features of the Istanbul Toy Museum is that it embraces visitors of all ages, making it a place where three generations can come together and share common happiness. Grandparents, parents, and grandchildren can reminisce about their childhood memories as they explore the museum's exhibits. The corridors of the museum are filled with the sounds of laughter and nostalgic exclamations of "I had this!" as visitors recall their favourite toys from the past.

The Istanbul Toy Museum has played a significant role in filling the gap between toy museums in Turkey, which are widely popular in European countries. It has become a leading example for other toy museums in the country. Inspired by the success of the Istanbul Toy Museum, several other toy museums have been established in Turkey, including the Antalya Toy Museum in 2011, the Gaziantep Game and Toy Museum in 2013, the Dustepe Play Museum in 2015, Kartal Fairy Tale Museum in 2017, and Canik Toy Museum in Samsun, all of which were opened with the consultancy and curation of Sunay Akin.

In November 2012, the Istanbul Toy Museum hosted the TOYCO-2012 Istanbul (European Association of Toy and Children's Museums) meeting, which was the first of its kind in the world to be held in Turkey. This milestone event made Istanbul a pioneer in the establishment of the association of children's and toy museums worldwide and earned the city the title of "capital of toy museums."

Sunay Akin, the founder of the Istanbul Toy Museum, has a personal history closely tied to his love for toys. He spent his childhood in Trabzon, Turkey, and was fascinated by the idea of flying like Superman, admiring the stars and the moon from his terrace. He had a deep affection for toys and used to play "museum" with his friends, inspired by his visit to the Archeology Museum in Istanbul at the age of 7. He also enjoyed watching TV shows and had a passion for paper ships, which led him to become a "retired paper ship captain." As an adult, he continued to pursue his love for poetry, art, and culture, organizing poetry evenings, painting exhibitions, and concerts, and even declaring a small island the "Republic of Poetry" before being "deposed" as its president.

Since its establishment, the Istanbul Toy Museum has become a beloved attraction in Istanbul, providing a unique and engaging way to learn about the history of toys and bringing joy to visitors of all ages. It has also inspired the establishment of other toy museums in Turkey, contributing to the country's cultural landscape. In addition to its permanent collection, the Istanbul Toy Museum hosts temporary exhibitions that focus on specific themes or eras in toy history. The museum also offers educational programs and workshops for children, including art and crafts activities, storytelling sessions, and hands-on workshops that allow children to make their own toys.

Today, the Istanbul Toy Museum continues to be a beloved cultural institution that celebrates the history and diversity of toys and play. It remains a testament to the vision and passion of its founders, who sought to create a museum that would be a source of joy and inspiration for generations to come.


Goals and Purpose

The Istanbul Toy Museum has several goals and purposes, which include:

  • Preserving the cultural heritage of toys: One of the main objectives of the museum is to preserve the cultural heritage of toys and to showcase them to visitors. The museum has a vast collection of toys from different eras and regions, and it aims to preserve and display them for future generations.
  • Promoting the importance of play: The museum aims to promote the importance of play in the development of children. It believes that toys are not just objects for entertainment but play a crucial role in shaping a child's personality and imagination.
  • Providing an educational experience: The museum offers an educational experience for both children and adults. Visitors can learn about the history of toys, the manufacturing process, and the cultural significance of toys from different regions.
  • Fostering creativity and imagination: The museum encourages creativity and imagination by showcasing a diverse range of toys from different eras and regions. It hopes to inspire visitors to think creatively and explore their imaginations.
  • Promoting cultural exchange: The museum aims to promote cultural exchange by showcasing toys from different parts of the world. It believes that toys are a universal language that can bridge cultural gaps and promote understanding and acceptance.

Overall, the Istanbul Toy Museum aims to promote the cultural significance of toys, provide an educational and inspiring experience for visitors, and foster creativity and imagination in children and adults alike.


Impact

The Istanbul Toy Museum has had a significant impact on both the local and international communities. The museum has become a popular destination for both tourists and locals, attracting thousands of visitors every year. Its unique collection of toys from different cultures and time periods has helped preserve and promote the history and heritage of toys.

The museum has also played an important role in educating the public about the importance of play in child development. Through its exhibitions and educational programs, the museum has raised awareness about the benefits of play and encouraged parents and educators to incorporate more playtime into children's lives.

Moreover, the Istanbul Toy Museum has contributed to the cultural and economic development of Istanbul. The museum has become a symbol of the city's rich history and cultural diversity, attracting visitors from all over the world. As a result, it has had a positive impact on the local economy, creating jobs and opportunities for local businesses.

Overall, the Istanbul Toy Museum has had a significant impact on promoting the value of play, preserving cultural heritage, and contributing to the cultural and economic development of Istanbul.


References
Istanbul Toy Museum
Leadership team

Sunay Akin (Founder)

Gürel Gürkan  ( Museum Director)

Figen Kadirogullari (Museum Operations Manager)

Gizem Aydin (Marketing and Communication Manager)

Headquarters
Istanbul, Turkey
Type
Children
Region served
Turkey
Year stablished
2005
Address
Omerpasa Street Dr. Zeki Zeren Street, No: 17 Goztepe / ISTANBUL
Social Media