Play! | Mingei International Museum

Whether literal playthings or whimsical feats of the imagination, toys manifest humanity’s innate creativity and sense of humor.


Carousel Pig

c. 1890 France

This carved wooden pig with notably realistic eyes and a curly tail has its tongue twisted into a friendly smirk.

Noah’s Ark

c. 1880 Germany

This Ark with over 200 animals was made in the Alpine region of Germany, which has been a center of wooden toy making for several hundred years.

Cootie Bug

1998 USA

This glass bead sculpture (aka Cootie Bug) has over 100 unique beads.

Inuit Doll

1950-1999 Alaska, USA

Dolls like this one are made from caribou antler, a renewable resource shed by the animal on a yearly basis.

Loco Rouge

2014 France

This strange and humorous “locomobile” was made of wood, leather, iron and various found objects.


20th Century Cuba

These maracas made from painted papier mache gourds embody the vivid and joyous sounds of Cuban music.

Alebrije (Fantasy Figure)

1978 Mexico

Charles Thunyakij, Outreach Coordinator and Education Specialist at Mingei International Museum, choose for his staff pick an Alebrije. This object of pure fantasy is constructed out of lacquered and painted paper mache.

Plan your Visit

Please note: The Museum will be closed Monday, July 4.