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A million toys, a million inspirations

Photographs: Thanes Piamnamai
Nov 13, 2019

A million toys, a million inspirations

Photographs: Thanes Piamnamai
Nov 13, 2019

The Million Toys Museum is unique among the museums of the world heritage city of Ayutthaya with its contemporary approach to exhibiting its collection of ‘millions’ of toys. There are both modern toys and playthings from the past to be found here, including life-size figures of popular cartoon characters and superheroes.

Assoc. Prof. Krirk Yunphan worked at Srinakharinwirot University in the Department of Children's Literature and is also an illustrator of many children's books.

One thing that Professor Yunphan is known for  no less than his work in children’s books is his contribution to the development of Ayutthaya’s more unusual tourist attractions, for instance in creating a toy museum which thrills both children and adults. The grown-ups often feel like they are traveling back in time to meet some of their childhood friends again.

The unexpected inspiration behind this museum came from the professor’s visit to Japan upon winning the NOMA award for children’s book illustration over 30 years, ago while he was still an undergraduate student. Part of the itinerary of that trip was to visit the famous Kitahara Tin Toy Museum.

Upon returning home, Assoc. Prof. Yunphan started to realise his new found passion. He wandered around the Khlong Thom and Tha Prachan areas, gradually collecting old and discarded toys. The number of toys started to accumulate little by little, from tens to hundreds, to thousands and tens of thousands until the collection became today’s 'Million Toys Museum by Krirk Yunphan'. The museum not only houses his personal toy collection but lately people have approached him to sell their old toys at the museum. Nevertheless, the main reason is not so much about making money as a desire to ensure that valuable toys are in a place where toy lovers can come to see them.

"Apart from reading and traveling, another way to learn is by visiting a museum," said Professor Yunphan of his intention in creating the museum. He also mentioned the reasons for choosing the old city of Ayutthaya as a location. "I think that the museum that will attract people needs to be in a touristy or a busy city, which Ayutthaya is. Tourists come to pay their respects at the old temples and to see the archaeological sites, and afterwards they might come to visit the museum.  20% of all visitors are foreigners. I met a group of Spanish tourists who knew about the museum from reading Spanish guidebooks. It made me feel so proud that this museum was mentioned in a foreign guidebook. This helps make Ayutthaya more appealing to a wider group of tourists."

Often, tourists come to Ayutthaya especially for the museum. They are attracted by our collections of rare and classic toys from all over the world, especially from the 1950s, which is considered the golden age of toys. There are also toys that were part of the way of life from long ago, such as toys from the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya Eras, which are hundreds of years old.

Associate Professor Krirk stresses the importance of toys is more than just for fun "Toys are a starting point for inspiration, which leads to innovation. Many toys are our first contact with science and technology. Toys are also a way of sharing happiness and ideas and of cultivating the imagination and they are not just for children because everyone has a child in them. Regardless of age, anyone who visits the Museum of a Million Toys can enjoy and absorb the charm of what they see and get happiness in return."

Million Toys Museum is located on U-Thong Road, Tha Wasukri Subdistrict, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province 
Open: 9am to 4pm, closed on Mondays except public holidays.

Admission fee for adults is 50 baht and for children 20 baht.
Call 0-3532-8949 or 0-3532-8950


Icons made by Gregor Cresnar from www.flaticon.com is licensed by CC 3.0 BY