Chilean toys to take over Parque Forestal

A new exhibition charting the craftsmanship and design of Chilean toys will take up residence in a historic downtown Santiago park.

Toys from all generations will find a new home when the Chilean Toy Museum opens in Santiago’s Parque Forestal. Destined for the iconic castillito building located across the road from Chile’s fine art museum, the Museo Nacional Bellas Artes, the space already has a restaurant and cafeteria ready to cater for visitors.

The area of the park is well known by children of all ages who love to explore the play equipment surrounding the small castle. However, the museum isn’t just for kids — the new addition will be welcomed by both collectors as well as the general public, with the basement of the building providing the perfect space to show off a unique collection of Chilean toys.

Curated by Juan Antonio Santis, the collection will host more than 300 pieces over the space of 50 square meters. For Santis and other Chilean collectors, a place to call their own is a dream come true.

“It is a dream to be able to create this museum. We’ve been looking for a space to exhibit for ten years and now we have found one in an unbeatable point of Santiago,” Santis said to La Tercera.

The museum will house toys made in Chile spanning 120 years. Aside from creating an expansive collection of figurines, miniature cars and other objects, Santis has published two books on the history of Chile’s toy industry. His personal collection expands to 1,500 pieces.

Despite toys generally being considered as “child’s play”, the exhibition is aimed mainly at adults appreciating the craftsmanship as well as transporting them back to their own childhoods.

The newest exhibition space will provide a unique look through Chile’s history.
Among previous showings by the collectors were a 2011 exhibit at the Centro Cultural Palacio La Moneda and a journey to Uruguay to display the collection and 20 other exhibitions.

The museum has the support of French businessman Jerome Reynes. The former owner of Le Fournil is now operating the Parque Forestal space and sees great potential for the museum to bring new diners to his restaurant.

“The idea is to have exhibitions related to what’s happening each moment in the country or the world, that we believe will be a contribution to a gastronomic cultural space that will offer more choice for the city,” the Frenchman said.

The museum is due to open its doors in May. The new space will also add to Chile’s ever expanding and diverse list of museums and cultural centers.