Museum of toys and playthings in Manipal

Museum of toys and playthings in Manipal

Museum of toys and playthings in Manipal

Hasta Shilpa Trust, Manipal, has launched a new museum showcasing collection of toys and playthings, many of which were traditionally used in different parts of southern Karnataka in the care of children from infancy onwards.

Some of these objects have had an important role to play in the development of skills among children such as motor, neurological and cognitive skills. These playthings are not used in the modern era. There are also miniatures such as animal figures, kitchen utensils, Channapatna wooden toys, traditional board games, and interesting little knick knacks from different parts of the modern world to hold the attention of the child. Lastly, there are a number of beautifully carved wooden cradles.

The museum is probably the first of its kind in India showcasing such a collection, which is inextricably linked to early childhood care and learning in earlier times. In addition, its modern curios are also bound to arouse curiosity.

The museum is housed at the newly restored Hasta Shilpa Heritage House, Manipal. Although built as his family home between 1985 and 1990 by the late Vijayanath Shenoy, it was later vacated and sealed off after the privacy of Shenoy and his family was destroyed by the constant arrival of bus-loads of visitors, curious to see his remarkable home. Shenoy then dedicated his energy to setting up Hasta Shilpa Heritage Village.

Reopening Hasta Shilpa Heritage House is significant as it displays the formative stages of Shenoy's ideas on Hasta Shilpa Heritage Village which now draws a steady number of visitors. The Hasta Shilpa Heritage House is the place where he first experimented with displaying old, salvaged materials in culturally appropriate and aesthetic ways. He dreamed of translocating entire houses, rather than only remnants as artefacts. A museum in a house is meant to encourage children to observe and engage with an aesthetic heritage environment.

The Heritage House Museum of Toys and Playthings is conceived as a dedicated space for school-going children, which will soon become a vibrant learning space. Exhibitions, performances, story-telling sessions, summer schools and workshops appropriate for school-going children are also planned.

The Hasta Shilpa Trust was able to raise a substantial funds for the Museum from outside Dakshina Kannada to bring it to this stage. Jagannath Shenoy, Mysore, Arun Joti, Mumbai, Vaidehi Nandyal and Raghu Varadan (San Francisco and Bengaluru) have contributed generously to the project.

The Museum will be open only three days a week from November until the end of February, exclusively to groups of school children, only through advance booking by phone/email.

Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis inaugurated the museum.