Housed in the cellars of the former Palazzo Rasponi-Murat, the Piccolo Museo di Bambole e altri Balocchi (Small Museum of Dolls and other Toys), opened in 2006 thanks to the initiative of Graziella Gardini Pasini, offers a pleasant leap into the past among the toys that kept our grandparents and parents company and also shows us how taste in toys has changed over time.
Started by its founder and current director as a collection of her own dolls and family collections, it has been awarded the prestigious “Museums of Quality” prize.
The collection includes objects from 1850 to 1950, with a few out-of-period rarities, such as a toy stretcher from the eighteenth century or, a true gem, the reproduction of a Mycenaean doll from 1100 BC. There is also a reproduction colonial-style grocery shop from 1860, reconstructed in miniature with all the goods and furnishings of the time.
The museum’s pride and joy, however, are the dolls and baby dolls that have made history. Made of porcelain, celluloid and cloth, and coming from France, Germany and Italy, they are exhibited in chronological order, to give an idea of their evolution, from the materials used to the expressions on their faces, and how, over time, the way adults represent children has also changed. Interesting, in this regard, is the more international section dedicated to handmade dolls from various parts of the world.
Of course, along with the dolls, there is no shortage of clothes and accessories, playhouses and other games traditionally linked to the world of toys.
Over the years, the museum has been enriched by many donations, such as an entire collection of 827 pieces, which belonged to Mrs. Valentina Accame and was donated after her death.
Some of the displays are dedicated to the world of school, with books, exercise books, quills, nibs and inkwells, while others exhibit period clothing for babies and children.