Toy Boats 1870-1939. 2016 — Museums

This exhibition aims to transport visitors into the world of childhood to contemplate an extensive collection of model boats from different eras, using scenographic elements that effect a change of scale.

Institutional sponsor: Museu Marítim de Barcelona

Location: Barcelona, Catalonia

© Photography: Pepo Segura

The Antoni Juncosa collection contains reproductions of boats of all types and from all eras. The main difficulty of this exhibition lay in reflecting on how these works are viewed, looking for a storyline that could offer some kind of additional information or an added experience. The concept consisted in recreating the emotion of observing a toy, since they are not real boats, but they are to an extent toys for adults, collector's pieces. And what we proposed was for the visitor to look at them with the thrill of a child in a toy store.

How could we create this effect? Through a change of scale that shrinks us down to a smaller size. We recreated a room in a house where all the elements are oversized, as though we had crossed into Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland. The walls were white, a huge table and chairs were placed in the centre of the room. The pictures that would normally be on the walls of the room were used to convey information and some images. Some pictures that had been taken off the wall provided the texts for each area. We decided to create two parallel languages for adults and children, with different content.

At the end of this room there was a view of the sea, and the display of the prize piece in the collection: a bomber. Behind it lay a terrace above the horizon. In this area, the simplest boats, made with nuts and leaves, were displayed, with instructions so that anyone could recreate them. The two scales, the two languages, and the two areas, the house and the sea, are what guided us through this journey to the thrill of childhood.

Maritime Museum of Barcelona Website