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Seven-decade fascination for Toys lives on in the Antique Toy Museum in Mexico

Shimizu Kinoshita, who is struggling after a congressional decision to stop allocating cultural funds for the collection

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Dolls of comics characters Archie and Jughead are displayed at the Mexico Antique Toy Museum in Mexico City, Jan. 6, 2017. VOA
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Even as a child, Roberto Shimizu loved collecting things.

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.

More than seven decades 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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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“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.”(VOA)

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Barbie Ventures Into Coding Skills To Encourage Girls to Learn Coding Skills

The lessons, for example, show girls how to build robots, get them to move at a dance party, or do jumping jacks

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Barbie
Barbie. Pixabay

Barbie, the world’s most iconic doll, is venturing into coding skills in her latest career as a robotics engineer.

The new doll, launched Tuesday, aims to encourage girls as young as seven to learn real coding skills, thanks to a partnership with the kids game-based computing platform Tynker, toymaker Mattel said.

Robotics engineer Barbie, dressed in jeans, a graphic T-shirt and denim jacket and wearing safety glasses, comes with six free Barbie-inspired coding lessons designed to teach logic, problem solving and the building blocks of coding.

The lessons, for example, show girls how to build robots, get them to move at a dance party, or do jumping jacks.

Four robotics engineer Barbies are seen flanked by a robot.
Four robotics engineer Barbies are seen flanked by a robot. VOA

According to U.S. Department of Commerce statistics, 24 percent of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) jobs were held by women in 2017.

Barbie has held more than 200 careers in her almost 60-year life, including president, video game developer and astronaut.

Also read: Is Barbie doll hypersexualized? It was meant to be

Tynker co-founder Krishna Vedati said in a statement that the company’s mission to empower youth worldwide made Barbie an ideal partner “to help us introduce programming to a large number of kids in a fun engaging way.”