Wooden folk toys symbolise the Żywiec Beskids, and the Stryszawa municipality and its surroundings have been famous for their manufacture since the 2nd half of the 19th century. Wooden toys were crafted as a kind of side job done in addition to the main work of making various wooden objects and implements. They were made by entire toy-making families, first as a cottage industry – that is to say, in the home – and later by craftspeople. Handed down from generation to generation, the tradition has continued to the present day.
The Centre, which operates at the Municipal Cultural Centre in Stryszawa, has been popularising the traditions of local toy-making for more than 25 years and organising workshops, classes, and events, thanks to which Żywiec-Suski toy-making was included on the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2016.
The Wooden Toy Centre is housed in a brick, single-storey former forester's lodge building that was renovated in 2010. The main hall holds a permanent display of folk toys, thus presenting the techniques for making toys and the history of toy-making. The tour is a journey through time, providing select examples of ancient and modern toys. Multimedia presentations and films about toy-making and Beskid folk culture complement the exposition. It is supplemented by exhibitions of works by Stanisław Sikora, a sculptor and medallist from Stryszawa, and by photographs printed on canvas showing toy makers, their workshop, and the selling of toys. A visit to the Wooden Toy Centre is also an opportunity to take advantage of the range of educational workshops. For example, participants can learn how to paint and decorate wooden toys.
The Wooden Toy Centre also comprises a wooden building, newly built in 2017, called the Toy Makers' House. The interiors house an exhibition that reconstructs a toymaker's workshop and flat. In addition, there is a recreation and leisure room where visitors can relax with a cup of coffee and a snack and play with toys. The attic has an exhibition, workshop, and conference room.
The complex also includes a beautiful garden – the Wooden Folk Toy Park, which features big wooden toys. This unique place invites you to play when the weather is beautiful and to take a souvenir photo.
An entrance ticket to the Wooden Toy Centre costs PLN 12 for an adult; participation in workshops, depending on the activity topic: PLN 20 and more.
The current price list and information can be found at: beskidzkiecentrumzabawki.pl.