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Warsaw, Old Town, Podwale 15

The Museum presents two permanent exhibitions, the core of which consists of over 150 fully equipped classic dollhouses, as well as shops, schools, hospitals, hairdressers, service points and other objects.


The exhibits come from all over the world, the oldest ones are over 200 years old.


The exhibition of religious toys is a unique collection of miniature chapels, altars and dozens of in habits and vestments, as well as characters in wedding costumes from various cultures and religions.


The collection - probably the largest and most interesting in this part of Europe - includes several thousand miniature items and toys, as well as a rich collection of old games and puzzles.


Warsaw, Old Town, Krzywe Koło 2/4


The branch is designed to present a variety of temporary exhibitions on topics related to old toys, dolls and games, as well as presenting the work of contemporary artists and craftsmen.

Currently, we invite you to the new temporary exhibition of toys of the Communism Era PLAYING HOUSE.





  currently temporary exhibitions   

An exhibition of favorite toys of the Communist Era

15/09/2021 - until cancelled

An exhibition of favorite yoys of the communism era.


Temporary exhibition PLAYING HOUSE is an enchanting and sentimental journey to the past.  The latest exhibition prepared by The Dollhouse Museum presents a fascinating collection of toys manufactured from post-War years until the economic breakthrough of the 1990s.

Vast majority of the exhibits are items made by Polish craft workshops and toy-industry cooperatives, occasionally destined for export. An additional context is introduced by foreign toys since in Polish children's rooms between 1952 and 1989 you could find native products as well as ones from The Eastern Bloc countries, e.g. Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, Bulgaria or GDR and even several Western „pearls" – an undoubted dream of Polish children living in those times.  

Among over half a thousand exclusively selected toys you can find items highly diverse in terms of their nature, materials and manufacturing techniques, including genuine, one of a kind and unique products in original packaging with preserved tags or stamps. All the toys are united by one subject: widely understood home life. Each of presented exhibits allowed children to play everyday life led by adults and this way learn future roles, behaviours and society functions.

The exhibition is divided into 12 thematic presentations reflecting different everyday activities. For instance, in the 'Great Laundry' part we can find miniature washboards, washing machines and clothes dryers. In the parts regarding cooking there are fully equipped kitchens with tiny pots, rolling pins, blenders, dinner sets and cutlery. These and other objects amaze us with creativity and their incredible functionality sometimes being just miniature versions of genuine household items. Among selected exhibits you can also find dolls – main life-reflecting toys – with dollhouse furniture and accessories.

PLAYING HOUSE is an extremely interesting  cultural offer for whole family. Youngest recipients have an opportunity to discover toys well-remembered by their parents or grandparents and, at the same time learn the history of everyday life items. Older ones can take advantage of the exhibition by reminiscing about the past and carefree days when adolescence was just a distant future vision…

The main author of the exhibition: Aneta Popiel-Machnicka

Co-operation:  Zofia Jusiak, Mariusz Milewski

Translation: Patryk Zacharzewski

  permanent exhibitions 

In the Bygone World of Doll's Houses
_W świecie dawnych domków dla lalek

curent exhibition


For some decades now old doll houses have fascinated not only tourists in toy museums but also historians, cultural and social change researchers, architects, scenographers and collectors. Old miniature interiors hold such extraordinary appeal and charm, no one can walk past indifferently. For some, the interest comes in the technical aspect – how are these miniature doll houses made, what was used to make them and how was the electricity connected to these tiny lamps? Other people are drawn to the historical vibe of the interior, the period costumes, meticulously recreating everyday details -  remarkable documents of a bygone era.  Many people are fascinated by the extraordinary artistry and craftsmanship in the work, the  thoughtfulness and patience gone into creating these dainty worlds. Regardless of the reasons of the interest, one thing is for sure, the houses take us back in time – to different ways of thinking, different fashions, lifestyles, housekeeping and leisure activities.  They ooze charm, which is hard to resist.   



The oldest-known toy, seen already in prehistoric times, is considered the doll -  a figure which originally fulfilled a magical and ceremonial function and with time, was taken over by the child, for some becoming a favourite toy, a most cherished object, often kept, with nostalgia, into adulthood.


Dolls were most probably accompanied, since ancient times, by miniature households and their traces – primitive dolls, tiny tools and vessels, are found today by archaeologists in ancient settlements and children’s graves, where it was custom to hold their favourite toys. In ancient China (from fifth BC) and ancient Egypt (from third BC) art in miniature was made with different materials and to a very high standard. We can therefore assume that since they were making miniature tools, arms and chariots they were almost certainly also making miniature houses, model houses, replicas of interiors. 



One of the first written documents existing about doll’s houses can be traced back to 1558 when the Prince of Bavaria, Albrecht V, ordered the extremely expensive present of a miniature house for his daughter.  In those days it was difficult to think of it as a ‘child’s toy’ since it resembled more an elaborate display cabinet with its precise miniature pieces inside. Unfortunately, that house was lost in a fire in 1674.


The enormous popularity of doll’s houses, especially in Germany, England, Holland and Italy, occurred during the XVII-XIX centuries. The houses made in that period were often faithfully copied, mini models of the buildings of that period and their miniature interiors illustrated exactly the room layout and the furnishings.


The furnishings and amenities of the houses - from cellars to attics, were made to look as much as possible like their prototypes, using the same plastic and materials, by miniaturist-craftsmen often associated with guilds and specialised in their craft. And so miniaturist-carpenters made tiny, wooden furniture, bell-founders made miniature tin tableware and hardware, potters made tiny ceramics, and the painters painted miniature pictures. The doll’s houses were inhabited by every imaginable kind of doll - families, dolls in service, all sorts and their clothes, hats and shoes fitted their character and were made by a specialist; tailors, cobblers, hatters. It was characteristic to find that  the dolls ranking higher in the social scale would be made of the most expensive materials and to the highest precision - for  example, the man and lady of the house would have faces of porcelain or wax, their bodies sewn with the most delicate goatskin.  Lower ranking characters might have bodies made and finished in clay or ceramic and a servant deserved no more than a wooden body, and sometimes only straw and cloth.  Of course it was also possible in elegantly fitted out houses to find the bare minimum - this applied mainly to the manor houses of magnates and aristocrats.



Alongside technical development in XIX century, and above all, thanks to the introduction of the colour printer (chromolithograph) and the possibility of producing wooden pieces serially, doll’s houses started appearing and toys were more easily available, simultaneously fulfilling an educational function. The doll’s houses still faithfully kept their archetypal form. 


Thanks to the meticulous care taken of all the elements and smallest details at the time, the doll’s houses today are a source of information about how and where people lived, the environments they lived in and which fashions they favoured.  Starting from the enormous houses with lots of rooms, to smaller houses and finally to little shops, classrooms and kitchens, all these toys are amazing, three-dimensional documentations of a bygone era.




In the exhibition there are doll’s houses from all over the world, grouped thematically – Sleep and Rest, School and Learning, Hygiene and Cleanliness, Sewing and Decorating, Shops and Stalls, Medicine and Care, Kitchen and Larder.  These exhibits tell us a story from the past and show us their perennial beauty.  

The collection items are from Aneta Popiel-Machnicka’s private collection unless otherwise stated on the display description and renovated and restored by her and her children to their former brilliance. Several mats, napkins, wall-hangings, lamps and some felted pieces were made by contemporary miniaturists - Katarzyna Strzelecka, Zofia Lesińska, Katarzyna Kusiek, Ania Kurowiak, Iwona Majak, Ludmiła Karpiuk and Marzena Konsowicz




Main exhibition work: Aneta Popiel-Machnicka

Co-operation:  Bożena Donnerstag, Zofia Jusiak

Translation: Jessica Mulligan

Religious Toys
_Zabawki sakralne

curent exhibition

Religious toys were quite popular in Europe (mainly in Italy) during the XIX and at the beginning of the XX century; they were used to introduce children to religious rituals and invigorate their spiritual life. Nunneries, miniature altars fully equipped with liturgical artefacts, and beautifully decorated chapels aimed at encouraging children to voluntary vocations and joining monasteries. Playing out “weddings”, “ christenings” or even “funerals” helped familiarize children with the essence of important life events and the difficult subject of death. 


The beginnings of religious toys from the Catholic culture, date back to the XIII century, their homeland being Naples, where the first crib was built - a toy with a very strong religious context. Quite quickly,  the passion of making more complicated cribs spread over the whole area and everyone, from royal families and Italian aristocracy, to craftsmen and poor peasants, considered making the most beautiful crib a point of honour. They were made very realistically, and although the main figures were the Sacred Family, the whole scenery of the Birth of Jesus was brought out to the narrow streets of Naples, portraying the wealth and diversity of Italian architecture, the workshops of craftsmen, merchants’ stalls, home interiors. The figures were dressed in intricately sewn clothes, dolls’ shoes were made of leather, the jewellery was gold and silver. All of the objects and decorations were made with such care down to the smallest detail, from natural materials - for example tiny roof tiles, bricks and pots were made of clay and the tin and brass dishes were cast by bell founders. In the provinces, families made tiny fish, cheeses, fruits and vegetables from clay and wood, which, after being painted, looked “alive”. 


After a time, the tradition of building cribs progressed into the tradition of making miniature churches, chapels and altars - which you can see in the present exhibition. 


Contemporary religious toys feature traditional cribs (greatly simplified in comparison to the Neapolitan ones), but also other toys connected with Christmas - advent calendars, toy-scenes with Father Christmas, toys associated with All Souls’ Day - Mexican skeletons and skulls in varied shaped and sizes, miniature coffins, figurines of the dead. We mustn’t forget one very popular toy for small children - Noah’s Ark, which in many forms is produced even by mass toy companies (Playmobile).


Religious toys are not restricted, however, to the Catholic faith. Miniature objects connected with conducting religious ceremonies are found in Buddhism, Judaism and African religions.



Main exhibition work: Aneta Popiel-Machnicka

Co-operation: Bożena Donnerstag, Zofia Jusiak

Translation: Jessica Mulligan

 archive of temporary exhibitions 

An exhibition of artistic dolls

08/05/2021 - 31/08/2021

An exhibition of artistic dolls


The exhibition MAZOVIA IN A SKIRT presents the profiles of selected women who made a special mark in the history of the Mazovia region thanks to their extraordinary, often pioneering achievements in various fields of culture, art, science, sports, politics and social activity.


The images of the heroines are presented in the form of artistic dolls, which were made in various techniques by renowned artists: Maria Biernat, Karolina Byrska, Marta Górny, Ewa Graniak-Wosinek, Izabela Kłos, Natalia Kondratiuk, Agna Kurnatowska, Joanna Michalska, Jolanta Niedziela-Chudzik, Elena Ovcharova, Katarzyna Pietrzykowska, Justyna Skowyrska-Górska, Monika Szambelan-Althamer, Anna Szkudlarska, Małgorzata Trafimoff.

Seats and accessories: Maciej Sztolcman


The exhibition commemorates outstanding women who had the courage to be ahead of their time and make the world a better and more beautiful place.


The project is held under the honorary patronage of Mazovia Voivodeship Marshal.

Exhibition partners: Warszawska Organizacja Turystyczna, RDC, Jet Line

Exhibition patrons: Gemius, PZL, Muzeum Ziemi Mińskiej w Mińsku Mazowieckim, Sirens konsultacje muzyczne & licencje autorskie,, Szkoła Podstawowa "Chocimska", Fundacja ORLEN, Miejski Ośrodek Sportu i Rekreacji w Mińsku Mazowieckim spółka z o. o., JEMS Architekci, Ballet Center : Anna Linnik & Sergey Basalaev, Centrum Medyczne Kobieta i Matka, lek. Marta Mączka, Fresh Sound Studio, Warsaw Pass, Natuli - dzieci są ważne

Exhibition elaboration: Aneta Popiel-Machnicka, Zofia Jusiak, Patryk Zacharzewski

plakat FB dawne zawody.jpg
Dioramas by Elżbieta Marcinkowska-Wilczyńska

01/10/2020 - 31/10/2020

Dioramas by Elżbieta Marcinkowska-Wilczyńska.


The exhibition presents 12 miniature dioramas — artisans' workshops and studios which, in an original way — with a sense of humor and style typical of the author — tell the history of old, traditional professions, such as washerwoman, luthier, blacksmith, milliner, shoemaker or quilt-maker.


The exhibits are accompanied by texts, specially produced for the exhibition purposes, which with facts and curiosity complement the story about craftsmen — the story presented in these tiny interiors.


This temporary exhibition can be visited free of charge — stationary and online — thanks to funding from the Capital City of Warsaw. 

contest and exhibition ideas: Aneta Popiel-Machnicka, Zofia Jusiak, Marta Traczyk


Contemporary interpretations of Warsaw Legends in miniature

01/06/2018 - 31/10/2020

The post-competition temporary exhibition NOT ONLY BASILISK features unique, miniature spatial artworks that were selected and awarded in the art contest for Polish and international participants without any restrictions regarding their age or divisions into professionals and amateurs. The artists created incredibly diversified artworks: both traditional realistic representations and modern minimalist forms. Some of them surprise with their brilliance and humour whereas the other ones move us with their deep, touching message. All of them however, amaze us with creativity, ingenuity and variety of artistic techniques they were made in.


This bilingual exhibition allows us to re-discover twelve Warsaw legends - both the well-known ones and the ones that have already been forgotten. Their universal values become an inspiration to explore and interpret ancient texts of culture. Each legend not only hides a grain of truth but also wisdom passed down from generation to generation…

The exhibition is held under the honorary patronage

of the Capital City of Warsaw.

contest and exhibition ideas: Aneta Popiel-Machnicka, Zofia Jusiak

Exhibition of ethnic dolls

01/03/2017 - 31/12/2017

We invite you to an incredible journey AROUND THE WORLD

along with ethnic dolls from the collection of Ewa and Jagoda Liszka


This new temporary exhibition presents 222 dolls — genuine pearls of the collection of more than 2 thousand dolls (!) made in different parts of the globe. The exhibition can be visited at our „Upstair Gallery" from today until the end of 2017.


The exhibition is accompanied by educational activities called LESSON AT THE MUSEUM — REGIONS OF THE WORLD.


The educational activities are related to the exhibition presenting regional dolls from all continents. An amazing journey around the world with a pictorial map and geographic curiosities. 


Creative workshops — preparing ethnic dolls that can be taken home and used as bookmarks. 


exhibition curator: Aneta Popiel-Machnicka

educational elaboration: Zofia Jusiak

_Post-competition exhibition

06/12/2016 - 31/01/2017

An exhibition, presenting 124 miniature cribs, including the works awarded and commended in the "Christmas Crib in miniature. Creative Competition for Families".

The exhibition co-financed by the Śródmieście District

of the Capital City of Warsaw.


contest and exhibition ideas: Aneta Popiel-Machnicka, Zofia Jusiak

Publishing house "Nasza Księgarnia"

03/10/2016 - 05/12/2016

​The exhibition is based on the book "Fun and games of the past" by Katarzyna Piętka, with illustrations Agata Raczyńska, reminiscent of the old rules and descriptions of childhood games.

co-author of the exhibition: Wydawnictwo Nasza Księgarnia

Post-competition exhibition

01/06/2016 - 30/09/2016

Post-competition exhibition "My Dream Dollhouse", presents the winning and commended artworks of children and youth in three age categories.

The exhibition is held under the honorary patronage

of the Mayor of the Capital City of Warsaw.

exhibition development: Katarzyna Strzelecka

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