The Toy and Miniature Museum in Stellenbosch MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

The Toy and Miniature Museum in Stellenbosch

When I got to the The Toy and Miniature Museum in Stellenbosch, the doors were closed. The Information Bureau had told me it was open, so I was a little disappointed. I only had one day in town and really wanted to see the miniature Blue Train display (it’s the only one like it in all of Africa). But just as I was about to leave, a voice called out behind me, saying, “Hold on! He’s just making some tea. I’ll give him a ring.” The voice belonged to an artist who made a quick phone call, and then a few moments later, a cheerful man named Phillip Kleinhans came around the corner, mug of tea in hand, and opened the doors to a world of magic.

The Toy and Miniature Museum in Stellenbosch MzansiBride

As soon as you step inside the building, you can’t miss the incredible replica of the farmhouse from Uitkyk Wine Estate near Stellenbosch. It’s a smaller version, but still incredibly detailed. I was told by Phillip that the inside of this mini replica is just as impressive as the outside. Upstairs, there are three rooms that look like they’re straight out of the 19th century. The furniture is old-fashioned and really adds to the authentic vibe.

But it’s not just the bedrooms that are remarkable. Downstairs, there are three more sections to explore. The main room is where everyone would gather, with a sitting area and some cozy chairs. Then there’s the “voorkamer,” which is a fancy term for a front parlor. And finally, there’s the 18th-century kitchen, complete with all the necessary tools and utensils from that time.

What really blew me away, though, were the tiny dolls that filled these rooms. Each one was created individually, with great attention to detail. They even went so far as to break the dolls apart, just to make sure their limbs were in the right position. Talk about dedication!

If you take a closer look, you’ll notice all the miniature replicas of antiques scattered throughout the house. The artists behind this project carefully studied the Stellenbosch Village Museum to recreate these items with precision. There are tiny chests, antique cupboards, pots and pans, four-poster beds, and even small plates of food on the tables. It’s clear that a lot of time and effort went into making this dollhouse unlike any other.

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The Toy and Miniature Museum in Stellenbosch MzansiBride

In one of the cabinets, there were these really cool tiny tea cups. They were so small, like the tiniest kitchen you can imagine, it could fit inside a matchbox! And there was this adorable stove called Newman’s with such shiny little kettles and a pot. They even had utensils and crockery to go along with it. But the most interesting thing I saw in that room was something called a topsy-turvy doll. I had never seen one of those before! It’s a doll made of cloth that you can flip inside out. Two dolls in one!

In another room, there were these dolls dressed in clothes from a hundred years ago. The dolls were starting to get old, so the fabric was falling apart a bit. But their faces were still so pretty, with rosy cheeks, perfect little mouths, and curls in their hair. They were way better than the Barbies you’d find in the store today!

There were also cabinets full of miniature cars. They had everything! Carriages with horses, fire engines, ambulances, trucks, motorcycles, and even fancy convertibles that were so shiny. And right next to them were these tiny pianos and chaise lounges. It was like a whole tiny world in there!

One of my favorite things in the museum was Paddington Bear. You know, the one from the books! But there were also bears from Africa, all dressed up in traditional clothes with beads and even a Zulu spear. But the best bear of all was Little Ted. She was this scruffy bear with only one big button eye. She was given as a gift to Hilary Muller when she was born in 1950. Little Ted was Hilary’s best friend, even when she went to boarding school. They shared a bed together until 2004 when Little Ted retired. Now she’s part of the teddy gang in the museum.

The Toy and Miniature Museum in Stellenbosch MzansiBride

I wandered into a dimly lit room, and what a sight greeted me! There were captivating exhibits all around, each one taking my breath away. First, I came across a remarkable scene of a bustling motorbike workshop. The display was so realistic, I could almost hear the sounds of engines revving and tools clanging. It truly captured the essence of a busy workshop.

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Moving along, I stumbled upon an Oriental Carpet Shop. The mini rugs and carpets on display were truly a work of art. Each piece was meticulously handmade with an astonishing 500 stitches per square inch. The level of skill and craftsmanship was simply awe-inspiring.

But the most mesmerizing display of all was a recreation of a Stellenbosch backyard from 1690. The lighting in this scene was no ordinary lighting. It was programmed to change from daylight to night time every two minutes. As I stood there, I was transported back in time, witnessing the transformation of a peaceful garden under the moonlit sky.

Every exhibit in this room was a marvel in its own right, with an incredible attention to detail. I couldn’t help but be captivated by the artistry and dedication that went into creating these lifelike scenes. It was like stepping into a different world, where imagination and craftsmanship collided.

If you ever find yourself in this dark room, I highly recommend taking a moment to soak in the wonder and beauty of these displays. They will leave you in awe and ignite your curiosity. So, go ahead and explore this hidden gem. You won’t be disappointed. Trust me, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

When I visited the Blue Train display, it truly amazed me. The train wasn’t functioning at the time because they were waiting for someone to come and repair it, but that didn’t stop me from being in awe. The exhibit showcases the Blue Train’s voyage from Stellenbosch through the Cape Winelands and the Karoo. It includes tiny Dutch gabled houses, bridges, vineyards, and even a flawless miniature replica of the Lord Milner Hotel in Matjiesfontein. I was astounded because I had actually stayed at that very hotel in Matjiesfontein – it was an unforgettable experience.

The Toy and Miniature Museum in Stellenbosch MzansiBride

As I strolled out of the Toy and Miniature Museum, I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like at night. It reminded me of the enchanting stories I used to read by Enid Blyton, where dolls in their tiny mop caps would come to life and tidy up their little houses, getting ready for another day of adventure. I could picture Paddington Bear hopping into a toy convertible with his suitcase, while the Blue Train chugged its way through the Karoo, taking miniature passengers to The Lord Milner Hotel for a delightful afternoon tea. This museum is truly a magical place, transporting you back to a time when TVs and computers didn’t exist. It’s a time of handmade dolls, cars that fit snugly in little boxes, and well-loved teddy bears with their stuffing hugged tightly.

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About the Toy & Miniature Museum

You can find the museum within the walls of a beautiful 18th-century parsonage, tucked away at 42 Market Street, just behind the Information Bureau.

Hi there! Let me give you all the details you need for a visit to our wonderful museum. I’ll make sure you have all the information in a way that’s easy to understand. Ready? Here we go!

The museum is open from Monday to Friday, starting at 9 o’clock in the morning and closing at 5 in the evening. On Saturdays and Sundays, you can come between 9 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. However, please note that during the months of May to August, we are closed on Sundays. It’s important to keep this in mind when planning your visit.

Now, let’s talk about the entrance fees. For adults, the cost is R20. And for children, it’s even better, just R10! I think you’ll agree with me that it’s definitely money well spent. We want everyone to have the chance to experience our museum, so we’ve made sure the prices are affordable for all.

If you need to get in touch with us, you can use the following telephone numbers: 021-887-9433 or 079-981-7076. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions or special requests. We’ll be more than happy to assist you.

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