The hospitalmuseum loves to introduce young people to hospital and medical history, so we make an effort to add relevant kid-friendly items to the collection whenever possible. The Britains toy hospital figures mentioned in an earlier post were designed and marketed to children, but adults love them too. We feel the same way about the medical line put out by the German toy manufacturer Playmobil: made for kids, but detailed and elaborate enough that even adults find them very interesting. Playmobil has been making their distinctive line of toy figures and playsets since 1974, and has released several medically themed sets since then. The website Collectobil is a treasure trove of information on and photographs of all of the different Playmobil sets:
Hospital Team from 1980-84
The earliest ambulance set from 1977-85
Field Hospital from 1988-94
(above images courtesy Collectobil)
The hospitalmuseum proudly displays the following sets:
The Playmobil ambulance set produced between 1985 and 2000.
Playmobil operating room produced between 1985 and 1997. The surgeons look as though they have nobody to operate on... the patient is being prepped in the other room! (Or perhaps I packed the operating table into a separate crate... oops, dont tell the registrar!)
Doctor with Incubator.
And the best set of all... the only Playmobil hospital ever released! I believe it was released in 2007. I must admit that I haven't actually put the whole thing together yet, as it is very complicated; imagine the most difficult piece of ikea furniture you have ever assembled, then multiply that times ten! It will make a lovely display when it is assembled, though, and I have noticed that Playmobil sells separate lighting kits to add on; I shall have to add lighting when I get it all together!
Before either the Britains or Playmobil hospital sets were around, a child interested in incorporating a medical theme into his or her imaginative playtime might have reached for the Fuzzy Felt Hospital set. Produced in the 1960's by Allan Industries of Buckinghamshire England, the Fuzzy Felt Hospital was one of many themed Fuzzy Felt playsets consisting of a specially flocked playmat onto which brightly colored felt shapes could be arranged to represent all manner of exciting scenarios. The Fuzzy Felt Hospital was packaged with an instructive sheet that offered suggested layouts for such scenarios as "The Doctor's Visit, " "The X-Ray Picture," or "Teatime".
Finally, the hospitalmuseum librarian enjoys accessioning medically themed childrens books when they become available or are donated, here are a few from the collection:
From Let's Find Out About the Hospital
Let's Find Out About the Hospital. Eleanor Kay, R.N. Franklin Watts Inc., 1971. Printed Media. HM2609.4
A Visit to the Hospital. Lester L. Coleman M.D. Wonder Books, 1958. Printed Media. HM2709.4
The Human Body. Nutmeg Press Books. 1971. Printed Media. HM2809.4
Your Body: Bones and Muscles. Sean Morrison and Dr. Ira Freeman. Random House. Circa 1970's. HM2909.4
Playmobil Ambulence Set 3456. Playmobil. 1987. Plastics. HM3009.4. Copyrighted Image.
Playmobil Doctor with Incubator 4225. Playmobil. 2007. Plastics. HM3409.4
Playmobil Operating Room Set 3459. Playmobil. 1990. Plastics. HM3109.4. Copyrighted Image.
Playmobil Hospital 4404. Playmobil. 2007. Plastics. HM3209.4. Copyrighted Image.
Fuzzy Felt Hospital. Allan Industries. 1965. Felt, Flocked Cardboard, Paper. HM3309.4