Toy Museum welcomes its fifth international volunteer

Toy Museum is happy to announce that our fifth international volunteer, Kristina Kontreras, from Altai region, Barnaul, has joined our team for one year. We will share our experiences and create new educational projects for the museum’s visitors.


Our volunteer came under the European Commission's Erasmus + action ‘European Voluntary Service’ programme, coordinated by the Youth International Exchange Agency and Salto ESTA. This programme promotes the education, experience, and mobility of youth.


How could you describe your home town?

   My hometown is Barnaul, the capital of Altai region. Altai is famous for its stunning mountains, broad landscapes, endless forests and pure, uncontaminated nature. I believe there are still many wild places in Altai where you won’t be even able to find phone connection and electricity.
   However, Barnaul is a pretty civilized place :) It has almost the same population as Vilnius, but I think that Vilnius is a bit bigger and filled with way more history! Barnaul is quite young: it was founded in 1730. The city initially developed as an addition to the local copper-melting plant, so it has a very industrial look. Barnaul is not a quiet place, but I am certain anyone can find where to relax after a long day – going to a party, concert, museum or just staying at home.

What are your first impressions in Lithuania?

   So far I have only been to Vilnius, but I already can say that I enjoy exploring it a lot. I feel that there’s a unique beauty to the grey foggy weather that makes the old town look even more magical. My favorite things about Vilnius are its narrow cobblestone streets and, of course, the Republic of Užupis with its creative artsy ambient and old quirky houses. 
   I find Lithuanians very friendly and kind people that are always there to help. My mentor, coordinator and tutor have been helping me from the start of the project, explaining everything and answering every question that I had. I also like the calm pace of life in the city; I rarely have seen people rushing and buses ridiculously overcrowded. 
   Vilnius seems to be a very meditative place where one can enjoy old town’s sights as well as take a walk to Bernardinų sodas and appreciate a quiet beauty of the nature.  
Do you like to play?

   I enjoy playing various types of games such as table games, puzzles, slot machines, etc. I haven’t played traditional kids’ games in while (tag, hopscotch), but I liked some of the interesting games that the Toy museum can offer. Gruy?re (‘cheese’ in French) is one of my favorites. It is so hard to coordinate my hands correctly! But I like challenging games. Equilibrium is another fascinating game that requires a smart and logical approach. Sometimes I succeed at balancing quite some of wooden pieces, but I am still learning.

Why did you choose Toy museum?

   I chose Toy museum because it is a completely new experience for me. I have never worked at the museum before. At school I was very interested in history and even dreamed of becoming an archaeologist. Toy museum attracted me because it was stated that it is interactive (which is a rare thing for many museums where one cannot touch the exhibitions). I also had very little idea what a history of toys would be like, since there are no Toy museums in my hometown or nearby. I was surprised to discover that kids were so inventive in the Middle Ages! It is hard to imagine someone would make bone skaters nowadays. 
   When applying to the museum, I was also thinking that I could help with spreading the idea of such museum. I traveled some places, but I haven’t seen many museums dedicated to the toy history, which is odd because childhood is an integral part of human life. If I could use my skills to photograph, tape and promote Vilnius Toy museum, may be more people will find out about it and start wondering what the toy history in their country was like.

What is your biggest future dream?

Oh, it is so hard to say! I tend to dream of many things :) At the moment my biggest dreams are to create animated movies and to go on a trip around the world. I am learning how to animate as well as gradually widening the list of visited countries (I’m happy that Lithuania is now on this list!). If I am inspired with something, I can quickly change my mind and start dreaming of an entirely new idea! I hope that Lithuania will inspire me to achieve something awesome!