Bangkok Post reviews
A day with a million toys
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: July 17, 2014 at 8:30 am
An Ayutthaya adventure that isn't just temple ruins and old palaces
Ayutthaya is famous for its many Unesco World Heritage Sites. It is a city where tourists can ride elephants, take river cruises and sample the local culture and lifestyle. Few visitors to the province, however, are aware that it also boasts a toy museum with more than a million toys from all over the world.
Located in a blue and white house near Wat Banomyong in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district, the Million Toy Museum was opened by academic and children’s book illustrator, Assoc Prof Krirk Yoonpun, in October 2008.
The idea for the museum was inspired by Assoc Prof Krirk’s visit to the Kitahara Tin Toy Museum in Japan, which he visited when he received the Noma Prize for his children’s book, Chaona Thai, (Thai Farmers) in 1982. On his return to Thailand, he started to collect toys and it took about two decades for the museum to take shape.
The ground floor of the museum showcases Thai toys dating back to the Sukhothai, Ayutthaya and Rattanakosin periods, and includes clay toys and piggy banks, as well as many other Asian toys. The oldest toy can be traced to 1880. There are also thousands of old items, ranging from 30 to 100 years old, that reflect the Thai way of life. They include Buddha amulets, crystal glasses, silver and brass handicrafts and kitchenware, newspapers, furniture, radios and turntables. Also on view are old letters and postcards, which date back to the start of the Thai postal service in the late 19th century. The walls are adorned with a few paintings created by the museum owner.
Some of the many superhero toys are eye-catching.
Walking up to the first floor, you will see many old toys from all over the globe, such as models of superheroes, tin toys and vehicles, wooden and plastic toys, and celluloid and cloth dolls. The tin toys range from simple dolls and vehicles to wind-up and battery-operated toys. Among the popular toys on display are Hello Kitty, Ken and Barbie, Ultraman, Doraemon, Paddington Bear, Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters. One can also pose for pictures with life-size Ultraman, Superman and Atom Boy statues.
Strangely, a life-size statue of Yoda from Star Wars, along with antique Kewpie dolls and toy robots are situated in the same corner as statues of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, King Naresuan the Great, Nang Khwak (a sacred woman waving her right hand) and old cameras.
Countless dolls of Doraemon, Hello Kitty, Disney characters, Stars Wars characters and other famous cartoon characters are packed in the same room as many antiques.
After a couple of hours reliving your childhood, you can buy various kinds of toys, many of which are rare and are no longer available. Statues of Edward Scissorhands and Ultraman are particularly tempting, as are the tin warplanes and cars. After the shopping spree, you can enjoy a delicious meal at the museum cafe and then stroll in the small garden, nearby.
“No one ever forgets a toy that made him or her supremely happy as a child, even if that toy is replaced by one like it that is much nicer,” wrote Stephen King in The Eyes of the Dragon. This is perhaps why all children love toys and many adults collect toys, or, at the very least, like to look at them.
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