Museums of Istanbul: Istanbul Toy Museum.

As you may have worked out I am challenging myself to take the children to 50 different museums in Istanbul in a year. I have to do it by July the 1st 2013. I love museums but seemed to have got in a bit of routine of the same few, so I thought I should get on and see some different ones. I also wanted to overcome any desire to hide away from the out-pouring of advice that greets me wherever I go and just embrace the challenges of Istanbul with one in a pushchair, one in a sling and often an eight year old too. I suppose I imagined that I would be doing all 50 without the help of other adults but just lately I seem to have met a few people who look like being life long friends and are also up for a museum or two. Having Ville's parents here for a couple of weeks has also been a chance for assisted exploration and yesterday we set off to find Istanbul's Toy Museum (Istanbul Oyuncak Müzesi).

It is very easy to get to the museum by train if you are on the Asian side as it is less than 10 minutes walk from Göztepe train station. From the European side you could make it a wonderful trip by taking a boat from Karaköy to Haydarpaşa and then taking the short train ride to Göztepe. You will know when you arrive because there are huge giraffes for lamp-posts and the painted white villa that houses the museum stands out in a street of apartments.

We, however, took a meandering route that began with a late breakfast in Değirmenburnu Park, a boat to Bostancı, lots of cake at Kahve Dünyası and new toys from a toy shop on Bağdat Caddesi. By the time we walked there it was an hour and a half to closing, which turned out to be the right length of time to spend at this museum. I expected it to be small, a bit eccentric and sort of dusty and I was only wrong about the dust. The museum is sparkling clean, has some of the nicest toilets in the city (you go through a submarine complete with fish through the portholes to get to them) and there are BABY-CHANGING FACILITIES!! You definitely have to leave pushchairs outside but there is not much walking to do anyway and the cafe is lovely.

I think that Ville and I enjoyed the exhibits (the cases are beautifully arranged by set designer Ayhan Doğan) as much as the children did. The visit was full of  'Oh I remember that' and 'I think so and so had one of those'. The toys (the private collection of author Sunay Akin) are wonderful and antique, no effort has been made to include up to date toys or provide hands on experiences (there are no toys to play with), but our kids enjoyed it immensely. The only thing that felt a bit unfortunate was that in such a small collection an entire cabinet was filled with a model representation of a Hitler rally. I am sure it would lead to an interesting discussion with older kids though.

Afterwards we took the train and then the boat home to tuck some very tired children into bed. So that is 5 museums down and 45 to go. Anybody want to come to a museum with me?

Giraffe street lamp

Anton looking at toys

Space toy.

Lady Diana..yeah!

More funky space toys.

Matti at Istanbul Toy Museum.

Look Faffa.

The Beatles.

Chubby chops.

More chubby chops.

Göztepe Station.

Matti on the boat home.

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7 thoughts on “Museums of Istanbul: Istanbul Toy Museum.

  1. Your idea of educating your kids through visiting museums is exeptional!!
    In that great photo, your baby daughter certainly looks like a cute baby doll!!!!
    Also, Julia, you may have mentioned it before, but could you give me a clue about your blog's title ? A link, or something, I am really curious about this... Rock and soft place.... :)))))

  2. i am impressed not only that Istanbul has 50 museums but that you are making your way through so many of them!!!! this encourages me to get my kids to more of ours too. so many wonderful cultural adventures, this looks like another great day, Im laughing at the Di and Charles figurines!

  3. Thanks so much Kate and Marilena, would be good if you were a bit closer and we could take a picnic! Kate: I also found the Diana dolls hilarious :-) Marilena: The blog name came from the saying 'caught between a rock and a hard place' meaning that whatever you do there is no great solution. When Ville and I met in 2008 that is exactly how we felt because we both had children in different countries who couldn't leave those countries. So we have had to create a soft place somehow, despite all the problems. It has been quite a journey so we started this blog as a celebration of the life of our complex but thriving family. I also think that the blog name is about what we provide for our children (and each other :-)), I always felt that my parents were both a rock and a soft place for me and I want our children to feel that we are will always be solid for them and also a soft lap to crawl onto (whatever their age!). So that was the thinking around the name :-).

  4. Wow! that's fantastic that you're planning on visiting all 50 museums! How incredibly interesting to have a city with so many museums, I look forward to hearing about the others :)
    I love the shots of the space toys, so crisp and colourful! And the photos of the kids where they are reflected in the glass (particularly 'Look Faffa'). Beautiful!!

  5. Julia, thank you very much for explaining! Forgive me , it was not my intention to get into private matters. It's good to know you have a loving, united family!!!!

  6. What a wonderful description of an really amazing and interesting outing.My parents took me once to vienna to a toymuseum and aBOUT 58 years later i can still picture it and remember a beautyful doll made out of an old shoesole, this doll made out of love and nothing has never been forgotten by me! i AM ALSO GLAD TRHAT THE AMENITIES where familyfriendly. Hopefully we will share the visit of at least one of the 50 museums in the future. The pictures you took illustrate the day so well, I yust close my eyes and imagine being part of the experience!

  7. Vanessa, thank you. I imagine this city has far more than 50 museums but I thought I needed to start with a realistic goal! Marilena, nothing to forgive. Living in a country where my neıghbours ask for an explanation when my children cry I probably don't have a very strong sense of privacy (I am also the eldest of 9 children!). I imagine Greek culture isn't so different? Mum, I am going to save the least accessible for our conquer-anything partnership! Some of the handmade dolls really reminded me of the ones Großmutti made me. I am sure we will all go together one day.


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