Saturday, May 8, 2010

Budapest, Hungary: Hungarian Museum of Trade and Tourism

Or, as it is known to speakers of Hungarian, Magyar Kereskedelmi és Vendéglátóipari Múzeum.

I took a brief trip into the Hungarian Museum of Trade and Tourism, which is known for having quirky, narrowly-focused exhibits. I walked through two exhibits. The first, which I thought would be fascinating, was only interesting. This was the display on the history of brewing coffee. Fun fact: Melitta, the brand name for most coffee filters most of us buy, was the name of the wife of the man who invented the first filter for percolated coffee. The second exhibit I went into only because the girl from behind the counter who was serving as my tour guide really seemed to want me to go. It was an exhibit of toys. Ho. Frickin' hum.

No! It was incredible, but only in one regard. The exhibit went into great detail about the problemw of manufacturing and supplying toys during the communist era. Given that I am planning on hitting as many communist-era sites as I can during ths trip, this was red meat (no pun intended). The communists did feel the need to devote factory resources to toy manufacture, but they had problems producing some popular toys at all, and others in any decent quality, but others were brought to market just fine. The successes and failures were so random. And only one store in all of Hungary -- in Pest -- could sell Matchbox cars. Interesting peek at that era.

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