GEORGETOWN: It all began with a hobby.
In 1974, Loh Lean Cheng bought a ‘Popeye’ toy.
Now his interest in collecting toys had bloomed into a collection of over 110,000 items displayed in his own toy museum at Jalan Tanjung Bungah here.
The museum, opened in 2005, exhibits various toys and dolls of characters featured in favourite movies and television series.
Some of the toys displayed at the museum are from characters featured in movies and television series like Power Rangers, Sleepy Hollow, Lilo and Stich, Spiderman, Mr Bean, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Transformers, Batman and Avatar.
According to Loh, he got the inspiration to establish the museum after visiting a similar museum in London at the age of 19.
“In the 30 years after that (visit), I began to collect various toys and the pile began to mount and now I have more than 100,000 toys in my collection”, he told Bernama here recently.
The former engineer who is now 55 said almost all toys from great Hollywood movies are on display in the museum.
Various toys, in their original size, such as the robots of ‘Transformers’, the ogre in ‘Shrek’, Spiderman and The Joker from ‘Batman’, can be viewed in the 60.385 square-metre museum.
“I got the original toys from the blockbuster movies direct from Hollywood. Therefore, these toys are not available anywhere else but only in this museum”, he said.
Loh said the museum received two recognition from the Malaysia Book of Records — for being the first toy museum in the country and for having more than 100,000 toys in its collection.
Loh said even though he is happy with the response shown by the public, he is not fully satisfied unless another toy museum is built on a plot of land as the existing establishment is full with the toys on display.
“There are another collection of toys, numbering more than 30,000, which are being kept in a store as the existing museum has no more space to accommodate them,” he said.
Loh said his toy museum received some 100,000 visitors a year.
He said he had applied for a parcel of land from the state government in order to build a new toy museum but unfortunately the application was rejected.
“I do not want the land for free and am willing to pay for it but the state government still says ‘no’.
“I had made the application several times but each time it was rejected. I am sure that the new museum would be a draw for tourists to Malaysia and Penang in particular as not many countries have such toy museums”, he said.
Loh said, he received an offer to move the museum to Melaka but declined as he wanted the establishment to remain in Penang.
The toy museum is opened to the public everyday from 10am until 8.30pm. The admission charges are RM10 (adults) and RM6 (children). — Bernama