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Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel

Bags – Icons & investments

Today: 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM

19 October 2019 - 05 April 2020

History of a timeless accessory

This popular women’s accessory can be big or small, soft or hard, carried by a handle or slung over the shoulder on a strap. Adorned with splendid gold chains or simple and elegant – the handbag.

Bags have not always been cult objects for women only. In earlier times, both men and women carried pouches and bags. It was customary and practical to wear bags on belts or even as pouches slung around the waist under outer garments.

During the course of fashion history, the unisex bag gradually transformed into the handbag exclusively for female use. When close-fitting chemise dresses made of gauzy muslin came out, there was no choice other than to carry the pouch in the hand or on the arm.

It was not until 1875 that a handbag with a handle was introduced. Women quickly got used to always carrying a bag with a handle.

It was in the 20th century that handbags experienced their great boom. Bags such as the so-called Kelly bag became absolute cult objects and icons. Some of the greatest and most influential bag designers, including Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Gucci and Prada, started in the saddler business and originally produced luxury travel luggage.

The fact that the handbag became known as a symbol of femininity and an object of female desire had a lot to do with fashion staging.

Throughout history, one thing has remained the same: the handbag is a very personal object. It is a container that we use to keep and carry items that belong to us.

This exhibition with around 400 items provides insight into the history of handbags beginning from 1550, when they were made of fabric, tapestry, pearls and leather. The journey ends with exclusive and offbeat catwalk bags by contemporary designers and artists, including pieces from the hip Úna Burke, playful objects by Stasha Chimbur and luxurious bags by Ming Ray of London. The exhibition is rounded off with handbag art objects, such as the work made from alabaster by Barbara Ségal or that of Dutch conceptual artist Ted Noten, both unique pieces.

In cooperation with Liza Snook from the Virtual Shoe Museum in The Hague, works by over 40 renowned designers and artists from 14 countries can be seen in Basel, as well as loans from private collectors, galleries and two museums from the Netherlands. Among them some exquisite bags from the Tassenmuseum Amsterdam.

In short, this exhibition is heaven on earth for handbag lovers and can only be seen in Basel.


Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel

OpenClosed | 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM

Steinenvorstadt 1,  4051  Basel

Opening Hours

Mo Closed  |  Tu 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM  |  We 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM  |  Th 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM  |  Fr 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM  |  Sa 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM  |  Su 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM

Museum, Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM
Museum, in December, daily from 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM

Christmas/New Year 2020/2021

23 December 2020: 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM

24 December 2020: 10.00 AM - 4.00 PM

25 December 2020: Closed

26 December 2020: 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM

27 December 2020: 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM

28 December 2020: 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM

29 December 2020: 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM

30 December 2020: 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM

31 December 2020: 10.00 AM - 4.00 PM

01 January 2021: 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM

02 January 2021: 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM

03 January 2021: 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM


Toy Worlds Museum Baste

With over 1,000 m2 on four levels, the museum is one of a kind in Europe. lt is located at the heart of downtown Basle and houses the largest collection of antique teddy bears in the world, together with historic dolls, toy grocery stores, dollhouses, carousels, and contemporary miniatures. Visitors from around the world come to marvel at the museum. Special exhibitions on select, fascinating topics are always being featured at the museum. Your own smartphone or tablet can be used as an interactive museum guide. ln-house Wi-Fi makes this service free of charge.


CHF 7.–/5.–
Free admission for children up to 16. Please note that children must be accompanied by an adult

Museums-PASS-Musées Free admission

Swiss Museum Pass Free admission


Barfüsserplatz is just a short stroll of about fifteen minutes from the SBB train station.

Another convenient alternative is the tram – take SBB Tram No. 8 from the train station to Barfüsserplatz or tram No. 11 to the Theater or Barfüsserplatz stop. From Badischer Bahnhof train station, take tram No. 6 to the Barfüsserplatz or Theater stop.

For visitors arriving by car, the carparks near the SBB train station (Centralbahnparking), Elisabethen, Steinen, or Parkhaus Badischer Bahnhof, are highly recommended.


The Museum, Restaurant and Shop are wheelchair-accessible. Access to the restaurant from the entrance area is via a 440 cm long, 110 cm wide ascending ramp (9.41% / 6.24°). A portable ramp can be set up from the entrance area to the shop.

All museum floors are accessible via a lift (door width 79.8 cm, depth 115 cm) with no thresholds or obstructions. The disabled toilet on the 1st floor is wheelchair-accessible: door width 79 cm, sitting height 41 cm, hinged handles and hand-rails are provided. The washbasin is designed for wheelchair users and the mirror positioned lower accordingly.

Floor surfaces:
All museum rooms have parquet floors.
The restaurant and shop have stone floors.

The restaurant presents no problems for wheelchair users and is accessible via a 440 cm long, 110 cm wide ascending ramp (9.41% / 6.24°).

A special mobile, collapsible ramp with side rail (200 cm long, 82 cm wide) is available.

How to get here:
The use of public transport is recommended: From the SBB station, tram No. 8 to the “Barfüsserplatz” stop or tram No. 11 to the “Theater” or “Barfüsserplatz” stop. From the Badischer Bahnhof station, tram No. 6 to the “Barfüsserplatz” or “Theater” stop.

You may also come by car or use the Basle Municipal Disabled Persons Transport Service (Tel. 061 666 66 66, advance notification required!). Stopping briefly in front of the museum to allow passengers to get into or out of the car is permitted. Disabled parking spaces are available in the nearby “Steinen” and “Elisabethen” multistorey car parks.

Special points:
Two wheelchairs are available in the museum for wheelchair users and persons with walking difficulties.

The interactive information systems on the various floors can be pulled down to sitting height.

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