“ Toy and Miniature Museum in Stellenbosch, South Africa. „
Whilst in the historic South African winelands town of Stellenbosch, I picked up a self-guided walking route leaflet from the Tourist Information Centre for ZAR5 (£0.44/$0.67). One of the first places it suggested visiting was the Toy and Miniature museum, which is virtually behind the Tourist offices on Mark Street. The path to enter is a bit further down the road and is clearly marked. It is only a small museum and costs a nominal sum to enter of approx ZAR20 (£1.75/$$2.67) and is based in an attractive building that was once a former parsonage.
There are not a great deal of toys here - a few old teddies, some dolls and an impressive collection of model cars are the main items, along with a working train set (which didn't seem to be working when I visited). Saying that, the train set display covers virtually a whole room and shows scenery representative of the winelands and the more arid neighbouring Karoo region, which perhaps is something not appreciated so much by a visitor as a local. I am not sure I would have known this had I not been told of it. Also, it is billed as the 'famous' Blue Train, but again this meant nothing to me.
Much of the museum is dedicated to miniatures and room displays. There is a large doll's house in the main room that has lots of furniture in it, but I really enjoyed some of the room sets in a little room over to the back left. All miniatures are to scale 1:12. One showed a little back yard and had a lighting display that changed over the space of a few minutes so you could see it at night and during the day. One of my favourites was a 'workshop' where someone had put in a motorbike and crafted a workbench with all sorts of miniature tools and accessories. A lot of thought and craftsmanship had gone into some of these room sets. The curator told me that if you can spot a little mouse in the corner it shows that the set was made by a member of the local guild of miniature makers.
There is a gift shop that sells themed gifts and doll's house furniture. It was quite a large shop but was not particularly well stocked.
The museum is not large, perhaps only 4-5 small rooms and will take about 15-20 minutes to view depending on your interest. The curator is very knowledgeable and would no doubt be happy to answer any questions. I understand that this is the only museum of its type in South Africa.
Monday - Saturday: 09:30 - 17:00
Sunday: 14:00 - 17:00
From May to August the Museum is closed on Sundays