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AP PHOTOS: 7-decade passion for toys fills Mexico museum

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/13/2017 By DARIO LOPEZ, Associated Press
In this Jan. 11, 2017 photo, a man walks past the entrance to the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. The Mexico Antique Toy Museum is a four story building filled with toys and objects that bring back childhood memories to the visitors that enter this unique place. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) © The Associated Press In this Jan. 11, 2017 photo, a man walks past the entrance to the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. The Mexico Antique Toy Museum is a four story building filled with toys and objects that bring back childhood memories to the visitors that enter this unique place. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Even as a child, Roberto Shimizu loved collecting things.

In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, the founder of the Mexico Antique Toy Museum, Roberto Shimizu, left, and his son, Roberto, arrange objects prior to the opening of a temporary Barbie Doll exhibit in Mexico City. Even as a child, Roberto Shimizu loved collecting things. So when his Japanese immigrant father opened a stationary and toy store in the Mexican capital in 1940, Shimizu began a lifelong quest to save and collect toys. More than seven decades years later that youthful fascination lives on the Antique Toy Museum, a four-story building packed with objects that take transport visitors back to a nostalgic past. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) © The Associated Press In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, the founder of the Mexico Antique Toy Museum, Roberto Shimizu, left, and his son, Roberto, arrange objects prior to the opening of a temporary Barbie Doll exhibit in Mexico City. Even as a child, Roberto Shimizu loved collecting things. So when his Japanese immigrant father opened a stationary and toy store in the Mexican capital in 1940, Shimizu began a lifelong quest to save and collect toys. More than seven decades years later that youthful fascination lives on the Antique Toy Museum, a four-story building packed with objects that take transport visitors back to a nostalgic past. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

So when his Japanese immigrant father opened a stationery and toy store in Mexico City in 1940, Shimizu began a lifelong quest to save and collect toys.

In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, Archie and Jughead dolls are displayed at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. According to Roberto Yuichi Shimizu, son of the founder and now creative director: "Through our toy museum, our intention has always been to share our collection so that people enjoy and relive their childhood memories, to enter that tunnel of time to relive all those past Christmases and Three Kings' Days when you got your new toys and even the toys you never got." (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) © The Associated Press In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, Archie and Jughead dolls are displayed at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. According to Roberto Yuichi Shimizu, son of the founder and now creative director: "Through our toy museum, our intention has always been to share our collection so that people enjoy and relive their childhood memories, to enter that tunnel of time to relive all those past Christmases and Three Kings' Days when you got your new toys and even the toys you never got." (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

More than seven decades years later, that youthful fascination lives on in the Antique Toy Museum, a four-story building packed with objects that transport visitors back to a nostalgic past.

In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, a visitor stands among model airplanes and trucks at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City.Tucked in the middle of the capital's historic but seedy Doctores neighborhood, the museum is stuffed with Legos, superhero action figures, robots, model airplanes, trains and "lucha libre" wrestling masks as well as old traditional Mexican toys. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) © The Associated Press In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, a visitor stands among model airplanes and trucks at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City.Tucked in the middle of the capital's historic but seedy Doctores neighborhood, the museum is stuffed with Legos, superhero action figures, robots, model airplanes, trains and "lucha libre" wrestling masks as well as old traditional Mexican toys. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

Tucked in the middle of the capital's historic but seedy Doctores neighborhood, it is stuffed with Legos, superhero action figures, robots, model airplanes, trains and Hello Kitty.

In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, assorted Barbie dolls are displayed during a huge Barbie Doll temporary exhibit at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. Several Barbie doll collectors teamed up to display their dolls in this museum. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) © The Associated Press In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, assorted Barbie dolls are displayed during a huge Barbie Doll temporary exhibit at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. Several Barbie doll collectors teamed up to display their dolls in this museum. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

There are also "lucha libre" wrestling masks and old traditional Mexican toys and other playthings that are reminders of the country's once-robust toy industry that has all but disappeared following the enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, 1977 Barbara Lili dolls, the Mexican version of the Barbie doll, wearing AeroMexico flight attendant uniforms are displayed prior to the opening of a large Barbie doll exhibit at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. Among the millions of items displayed in this museum, all sorts of Mexican wrestling paraphernalia and old traditional Mexican toys remind Mexicans of their rich cultural heritage as well as a blunt reminder that before the North American Free trade agreement was signed in the 1990's, Mexico had a robust, healthy and creative national toy industry that is now practically defunct. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) © The Associated Press In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, 1977 Barbara Lili dolls, the Mexican version of the Barbie doll, wearing AeroMexico flight attendant uniforms are displayed prior to the opening of a large Barbie doll exhibit at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. Among the millions of items displayed in this museum, all sorts of Mexican wrestling paraphernalia and old traditional Mexican toys remind Mexicans of their rich cultural heritage as well as a blunt reminder that before the North American Free trade agreement was signed in the 1990's, Mexico had a robust, healthy and creative national toy industry that is now practically defunct. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

Shimizu still helps out occasionally, but the museum is now run by his son, Roberto Y. Shimizu Kinoshita, who is struggling after a congressional decision to stop allocating cultural funds for the collection.

This Jan. 11, 2017 photo, shows a view from behind a window, of a quiet corner with painted walls at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. Tucked in the middle of Mexico City's historic but seedy Doctores neighborhood, the museum is stuffed with Legos, superhero action figures, robots, model airplanes, trains and dolls. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) © The Associated Press This Jan. 11, 2017 photo, shows a view from behind a window, of a quiet corner with painted walls at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. Tucked in the middle of Mexico City's historic but seedy Doctores neighborhood, the museum is stuffed with Legos, superhero action figures, robots, model airplanes, trains and dolls. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

The museum has had to cut staff by half and most of its cultural events and workshops have been suspended, says the son, who hopes to raise money for the museum through a Kickstarter campaign.

In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, a doll making workshop takes place during a Barbie Doll temporary exhibit at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. Several Barbie doll collectors teamed up to display their dolls in this museum. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) © The Associated Press In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, a doll making workshop takes place during a Barbie Doll temporary exhibit at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. Several Barbie doll collectors teamed up to display their dolls in this museum. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

"It is very sad that once again the budgets destined for culture are the ones most punished," the younger Shimizu said at the opening of a recent Barbie doll exhibit.

In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, visitors watch as a doll making workshop takes place during a Barbie Doll temporary exhibit at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. Several Barbie doll collectors teamed up to display their dolls in this museum. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) © The Associated Press In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, visitors watch as a doll making workshop takes place during a Barbie Doll temporary exhibit at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. Several Barbie doll collectors teamed up to display their dolls in this museum. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

"Through our toy museum, our intention has always been to share our collection so that people enjoy and relive their childhood memories, to enter that tunnel of time to relive all those past Christmases and Three Kings' Days when you got your new toys — and even the toys you never got."

In this Jan.11, 2017 photo, toys displayed inside a steel box are seen through a magnifying glass at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. The Mexico Antique Toy Museum is a four story building filled with toys and objects that bring back childhood memories to the visitors that enter this unique monument to hoarding behavior. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

In this Jan.11, 2017 photo, toys displayed inside a steel box are seen through a magnifying glass at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City. The Mexico Antique Toy Museum is a four story building filled with toys and objects that bring back childhood memories to the visitors that enter this unique monument to hoarding behavior. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
© The Associated Press
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