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The Glendale Toy Museum closed at the end of the 2012 season after 25 years in operation to allow Terry and Paddy Wilding to enjoy their retirement. The rest of this page remains as written before the closure, to allow virtual visitors a glimpse of what the museum had to offer. The Glendale Toy Museum can be found in the township of Glendale, which is scattered along the valley of the River Hamara near the point at which it flows into Loch Pooltiel.
This is one of a trio of fascinating museums to be found in the unlikely setting of the northern part of Skye's Duirinish peninsula. The others are the Colbost Croft Museum and Borreraig Park Museum. Together they form a triangle that gives good reason to head west from Dunvegan, even on a driech day.
The Toy Museum occupies part of Holmisdale House, the home of Terry and Paddy Wilding, and was opened by them in 1987. A major fire in May 2002 all but destroyed the house, but it was rebuilt over the following 18 months and the museum reopened to the public in 2004. Many of the original exhibits in the museum were lost in the fire, which makes the stunning range on view today all the more remarkable.
Once you reach Glendale, the museum is well signposted: in effect you turn left near the village shop and post office, and Holmisdale House is about a third of a mile away, with a drive that climbs to the right of the road. A sign near the gate encourages visitors to use the parking at the house itself.
The museum is divided into rooms that separate the toys based on their era. This means that the part of the museum visitors will most readily respond to depends on their own age and which of the rooms contains the toys they themselves played with.
And that is what really makes a visit to the Glendale Toy Museum such a magical experience. Not just to see the toys, but rather to rediscovered memories long gone, of moments from a childhood spent playing with toys long forgotten.
Some of the exhibits also make you wonder how previous generations of children ever grew up to be the adults of a later era. Did we really have model farm animals or soldiers made from lead and painted with lead-based paints? Seeing the transition from lead toys to plastic toys, sometimes across the same product range, makes you realise that not all progress is bad.
The highlights of any visit to the museum will be purely personal, but rest assured that unless you spent your childhood sitting quietly in an empty room, there will be some. And having had some long lost areas of your memory prodded back into life, before leaving the museum you have the opportunity to browse through the broad range of collectors' toys on sale.