"Doctores" gets its name from the fact that most of its streets are named after famous doctors. It borders the "nice" neighborhood of of "Roma Norte", which in turn is next to "Condesa" where my apartment is situated. I read that most of the crime in infamous "Doctores" was centered around auto theft and "chop shops". Well, I wasn't intending to drive a car there, and I would be going in broad daylight. I checked Google Maps and saw that I could walk through "Roma Norte" along Querétaro Street. Upon reaching the border with "Doctores" the street changes its name to Dr. Olvera... and it is along that street, several blocks into the neighborhood, that the museum is located.
I decided to throw caution to the wind and go to dreaded "Doctores". I took my credit cards out of my wallet, took off my watch, put my camera into my shoulder bag and sallied forth. I crossed Cuauhtemoc Avenue, the dividing line between the two neighborhoods. It was not immediately noticeable, but "Doctores" was indeed seedier than "Roma Norte". But it didn't look any worse than many neighborhoods that I have visited. The people on the street did not look disreputable. There were no gangs of suspicious teenagers loitering on the street corners, and the elderly people, women, and children were not looking fearfully over their shoulders. I reached the museum without any problem at all.
The entrance is unlike the entrance to any museum that i have ever seen. A sign at the narrow door directs you to climb the stairs to the next floor.
The walls surrounding the little parking lot next to the museum were supposedly painted by Mexico City's top graffiti artists.
Peaking over the pile of toys is a portrait of the museum's founder, Roberto Shimizu.
Shimizu's father immigrated to Mexico from Japan and in 1940 opened a toy store. Throughout his life the elder Shimizu collected toys. The son continued to add to the collection, and opened the museum. Now, the third generation of Shimizus runs the place. It claims to be the largest toy museum in the world with over 40,000 objects. The toys come from all over the world, but the collection highlights Mexico's once flourishing toy industry.
The museum covers room after room on four floors in what was once an apartment building. It looks like a junk store with stuff piled to the ceiling and crammed into showcases. There is very little organization, and not much identification of the toys. The place is bizarre. But in spite of that, it is a unique and fascinating place. It's is a shame that there isn't the money or space to display all of it properly. A lot of the stuff is perhaps junk, but there are many valuable antiques and collectibles here also.
Forgive the quality of the photos since I was frequently trying to deal with the reflection on the glass showcases.
Dolls representing the famous Mexican actor, Cantinflás
Apparently, Mexico had its own version of "Barbie". Her name was Bárbara, her boyfriend was Ricardo, and her best friend was Lili.
There were lots of figures of wrestlers from Mexico's "Lucha Libre".
The motto of the museum is: "The child who doesn't play is not a child."