This museum, housed in a magnificent 19th-century mansion, celebrates both the history and technology of dolls within a Spanish town, as well as the history of doll manufacturing worldwide. Even if you have no kids to take with you or are not a doll collector, this place is really worth the hour or so that the guided tour takes.
The town of Onil, in the Alicante province, is recognized as the center of Spain’s doll industry. At one time, there were more than 25 doll manufacturers in the town. Today, the industry is still thriving, as the area is still home to numerous traditional doll manufacturers and is a major production center for Playmobil jointed figures and their accessories.
Head to the Museo de la Muñeca, and you’ll get a glimpse of this rich, historic industry. On the ground floor of the museum, there’s a section dedicated to early doll manufacturing (using paper mache). It’s based mainly on photographs, but also features some very early dolls.
Next door is a demonstration of modern doll-making processes. This includes a fascinating machine used to press the articulated eyes into the plastic faces and one used to stitch nylon hair into the heads.
The higher floors are dedicated to a magnificent collection of dolls both old and modern, and a large room contains a collection of several thousand Playmobil figures. Included in the doll collection is a fantastic display of dolls in traditional costumes derived from all over Spain.
Know Before You Go
Access is via guided tour only, but this is free of charge. The guide presents only in Spanish, but a recorded information device is provided for non-Spanish speakers. To be honest, it helps to have a little Spanish as the live performance is far more detailed than the recording Check the website for tour times. Ideally, you should book a place, but it is possible to just turn up about 10 minutes before a scheduled tour On certain days, you can link your museum tour with a tour of a real doll factory. The house is worth the visit in its own right. Look out for some fantastic molded ceilings and a magnificent spiral staircase. The building is fully accessible with elevators and ramps throughout.