Toy Museum celebrates its 10th anniversary!
On 7 December 2022, the first family-oriented museum in Lithuania, presenting Lithuania's toy heritage from the earliest times, will be celebrating its tenth anniversary. The Toy Museum was opened with the aim of presenting in an engaging way one of the themes in the history of everyday life - childhood, games and the heritage of toys - which has been little explored but experienced by all.
The basis of the Toy Museum was the thesis of one of its founders, Dr Povilas Blaževičius, on the oldest archaeological toys, play and entertainment equipment. Starting with the theme of the Late Middle Ages, the creators of the Museum have over the past decade expanded the themes of the exhibitions, presenting key periods from Stone Age play themes to the originals of the industry in the second half of the 20th century. A particularly large number of original items have been donated to the Museum by people who had until recently kept their own or their children's toys. The museum currently holds over 5 000 originals, copies and reconstructions.
The Toy Museum is one of the few museums in Vilnius that is focused on and adapted to families and audiences of different ages. The museum's exhibitions are based on the latest developments in museology, allowing visitors to observe, act and learn. In 10 years of operation, this concept has received national and international acclaim. In 2013, the museum became a full member of the Lithuanian Museum Association. Since 2017, the museum has also been a member of the Hands On! International Association of Children in Museums In 2014, the museum was named one of the ten strongest cultural institutions for education and exhibitions for children up to the age of 13 at the Bologna Book Fair by the European Academy of Museums and the international children's museum organisation HANDS ON. In 2015, the Museum was awarded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania for its educational activities with children and young people, and in 2018, the Museum was awarded by the Department of Cultural Heritage and the Lithuanian Archaeological Society for its successful educational activities for children and families, aimed at revealing the importance of the profession of an archaeologist and the connection of archaeological toys with the everyday life of a historical player. In 2022, the Toy Museum was awarded the international quality label "Home of the 21st Century Education" and became an ambassador of the Children in Museums movement.
The founders of the Toy Museum are Indrė Jovaišaitė-Blaževičienė and archaeologist Dr Povilas Blaževičius. Indrė Jovaišaitė-Blaževičienė's research interests are related to the communication of cultural heritage, the dissemination of the history of everyday life, and the role of play in presenting these topics to society. Dr. Blaževičius is an active archaeologist and museum worker, author of more than fifty scientific articles and two monographs, co-creator of national and international exhibitions.
The idea of the Toy Museum was implemented thanks to the support of many friends and, most importantly, Vilnius City Municipality and the City Council. The museum operates in premises owned by the City of Vilnius, which the museum rents on preferential terms. After winning the competition to develop the premises in 2022, the Toy Museum hopes to continue its successful work for the Lithuanian public and visitors to our country.