Childhood Collections

Childhood CollectionsA model aeroplane made from Meccano

The Museum of Childhood’s large collection is full of colour and variety. Visitors to the Museum can see optical and construction toys, cars from Dinky miniatures to child-size pedal cars, toy soldiers, puppets and dolls’ houses. The Museum explores all aspects of growing up, so toys and games sit alongside items such as books, medicines and clothing.

The Museum of Childhood collection was founded by  Patrick Murray, a passionate collector of toys and childhood objects who was also an Edinburgh Town Councillor. Objects in the collection span the 18th to 21st  centuries. We have a large collections of toys, games, crafts and hobby items, from tea sets to Meccano.

The Museum is more than just a toy museum. It aims to explore all aspects of childhood, from baby raising and healthcare to education. Rattles, cod liver oil bottles and school slates sit alongside the toys and games of the past.

We also hold collections of books, photographs and clothing, from christening robes to fancy dress.

We are gradually expanding our collection of late 20th and early 21st century objects. Some of these, such as computer games, are very different from those of the past. Others, like teddies and board games, remind us that certain things will always be a part of childhood.

Capital Collections also features many objects from the Childhood Collections organised into the following Exhibitions from their five decades of Toys series (1950 - 2000): 1950s1960s 1970s1980s 1990s

School Days

Our collection of education objects shows the importance of school in children’s lives. From slates and satchels to report cards, we have plenty of things to remind you of the ‘best days of our lives’.


From marbles to yo-yos, snakes and ladders to happy families, our collection of games explores more than a hundred years of fun.

Home Life

The home life of children is explored through our collection of objects including cots, prams, baby food, medicines and bedroom decorations.

Children's Clothes

The Museum of Childhood’s costume collection contains over 2,500 items of clothing. These range from dainty christening robes to sturdy sandals and dressing up costumes.


Our collection of over 10,000 children’s books, comics and magazines ranges from 19th century picture books to Biggles, Enid Blyton and the Beano.

A History of Childhood Collections

The Museum of Childhood collection was established by Patrick Murray (1908-81), an avid collector of childhood objects and an Edinburgh town councillor.