Children’s Museum: Yogyakarta, Central Java

Long before it will officially open its doors at Yogyakarta Cultural Park, a new children’s museum has been reaching out to the public with various events and displays. Kolong Tangga Museum, opening in January 2008, is named for a child welfare community grouping, itself an outgrowth of Yayasan Untuk Semua Anak (All Children’s Foundation).

Museum technical director, Indra, said exhibitions for children — like “Mysterious Dolls” and “Old Prints of Jakarta” — were launched in 2006 in a bid to introduce the new museum to the public.

Come and See a Story” is a children’s show, also by Kolong Tangga, at the Culture Park about how storytelling can be done with writing and other art forms, said Indra.

He said the exhibition is intended to encourage children to read high quality books and to raise awareness of classic toys and games that may be dying out.

The collection already numbers more than 900 toys, games and tales — from Indonesia and abroad. The current exhibition makes use of some 400 pieces.

Around the world, those who care about children have donated to the museum.

The toys and stories are carefully arranged to entice and educate. A mask from Indonesia is displayed alongside one from another country to stir curiosity.

Of course, as the visitors are children, the museum will be hands-on. There are ceramics, clay and puppet workshops.

Children can also try magic tricks and making flower vases, necklaces and curtains.

“These activities are fun — more fun than napping at home,” said one child, Elvi, who was making a puppet.

Some children, including three-year-old Ken Pengasih Suci, who came with her mother and sister, find it hard to part with some of the unique items.

“Can we buy it? The doll is so beautiful! How much is it?” visitor Egi from Dukuh in Bantul regency wanted to know.

“We search everywhere for toys and games that are special. We find many countries share common toys and games.”

Dakon, a board game common to both Indonesia and India that may have been carried abroad by refugees or soldiers, is the example Indra used.

“We always appreciate information about toys and games we haven’t seen in order to complete our collections,” he added.

Slamet Susanto