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Mexico: Festival of Toys

An interactive exhibit of hand-made toys for both celebration and play.

December 14, 2007 – March 16, 2008

Organized by the Papalote Children’s Museum in Mexico City, and the Mexican Cultural Institute, “Mexico: Festival of Toys” makes its inaugural stop at the Art Museum of the Americas.  It will then be traveling throughout the United States and Europe for the next six years. Numbering more than 600 objects, the exhibition contains toys dating from the 1920’s to the present day.

The Papalote Children’s Museum is the custodian of the The Mexican Popular Toy Collection.  This vital historic collection lends itself to the assemblage of a unique museum experience where visitors will be immersed in a Mexico of ingenuity and color; a Mexico of cultural diversity; a Mexico of times past and present.

Mexico: Festival of Toys is divided into two basic themes.  First, there are toys that are an important part of celebrations such as Christmas, the Day of the Dead, Holy Week, and Carnival. Of course, there are also those that are simply used by children for play.  The exhibit also includes several play stations for children to interact and play with replicas of the toys in the exhibit.  

Visitors will experience the world of Mexican toys as one of ingenuity and color.  The country’s tradition of popular art and its diversity of forms, textures, materials, and techniques is reflected in its objects of play. 

The Mexican Popular Toy Collection originally began with inheritances from the collections of folk art specialists Teresa Pomar and Carlos Espejel.  The collection has grown throughout the years with the mission of building a significant representation of Mexican folk heritage.  In spite of the craft of handmade objects now being threatened by mass produced toys, there remains a thriving tradition of popular toy art in the country. 

The many stages of design and production of traditional Mexican toys demonstrate their connection to cultural or ethnic groups, as well as the use of local materials, the development of craftsmanship, and ultimately the ways in which the objects are inspired by daily life activities and circumstances. 

This exhibition has been made possible through the generous support of GRUMA’s leading brands MASECA, Mission and Guerrero, and in collaboration with Distroller, the Secretary of Foreign Relations of Mexico, the Mexican Tourist Promotions Council, the National Council of Arts and Culture of Mexico, and Fonart.