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.
The costume collection covers baby clothes, boys’ and girls’ ‘best’ clothes, school uniforms, society uniforms and all sorts of other clothes and accessories.
Visitors to the Museum can see ‘children’ dressed in their party clothes, school uniform and fancy dress. These outfits are only a fraction of our collection, which covers everything from sailor suits to cowboy hats.
We have lots of baby clothes from the period 1880 to 1930, including beautifully-made christening robes. Baby clothes were often kept for sentimental reasons, and many of our christening robes have been passed down through families for generations.
Amongst clothes for older children, we have lots of party or ‘best’ dresses for girls and Highland outfits or sailor suits for boys. We have more girls’ clothes than boys’, as they tended to last longer, and their prettiness made them hard to part with.
In 1997, the Museum acquired a wonderful collection from a former television costume designer. It is made up of chidlren’s everyday clothes and shoes from the early to mid-20th century – the sorts of things that weren’t kept, and so have become rare.
The Museum holds a uniform collection including lots of Scottish school uniforms and those of well-known organisations like the Girls’ and Boys’ Brigades, Guides and Scouts.
We don’t just have clothes in our collections. Our accessories collection includes fans, bags, purses, jewellery, muffs, parasols and hair ornaments, many of which reflect adult fashions.
A selection of items from the Museum of Childhood collections can be found on the Capital Collections site.