Last updateFri, 12 Apr 2019 2pm

The little German toy that embodies our diverse world

A massive cult following has grown over the past five decades based around a line of durable plastic toys that boast a signature human figure with a cherub-like smiling face.

pg4bpg4cIt would be hard to dispute the claim that the name Playmobil is now as well known as Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. The iconic three-inch tall figures are sold as individual characters, as well as in themed playsets, together with a huge range of accessories, including buildings, vehicles, planes, ships, animals, etc. The focus of the themes is endless: pirates, police, Vikings, surfing, farming, firefighters, space … to name just a few.

Developed in Germany in 1974, Playmobil has become a worldwide phenomenon, with theme parks now open in several cities. Since many of the themed sets and characters have been discontinued over the years, collecting the toys has mushroomed into a major hobby – and business – for some enthusiasts.

Guadalajara’s Museo de Artes Populares, better known for its promotion of Mexican arts and crafts, is recognizing the cultural significance of this brand of German toy. An exhibition featuring dozens of Playmobil characters and sets went on display Thursday, August 10.

While the museum no doubt hopes to draw some younger visitors to its halls, there will be many adults who grew up loving these toys and eager to take a trip down memory lane.

Those unfamiliar with the museum can also get to see the fascinating permanent displays of local and regional folk art.

The Museo de Artes Populares (San Felipe 211, centro historico) is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission.

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