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*Please note that our lift is currently out of action in the Museum of Childhood. Step-free access includes the shop and Gallery 1. Apologies for any inconvenience.*

Visit the world’s first ever museum dedicated to the history of childhood. Amongst the displays you will find toys, games, clothes, books and dolls, dating from the 1800s to the present day.

Explore a child’s life at home, at school and at play. See blasts from the past like Muffin the Mule, the first star of children's television and Radio Rex – a 1920s voice activated toy. Favourite toys which last the test of time are also on display including a Buzz Lightyear, the action figure from 2000 and a Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone from 1979. And don't miss the dressing-up area and tee-pee in the imaginary play area which offers families the chance to play together. 

Opened in 1955, the Museum boasts an impressive collection of toys, games and artefacts relating to British childhoods. See fascinating and rare objects as well as toys you may recognise from your own childhood.

'It takes Granny back to when she was the same age as our wee girl, and lets us all see how much and how little has changed'. Scott family  

'It’s the one place where all the generations can share their stories, for young to be interested in old, for old to feel they have something in common with the young'. Willis family       

*Please note Gallery 2 is closed due to maintenance and we apologise for any inconvenience caused*

Details

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The collection at the Museum of Childhood explores all aspects of British childhood from the mid 19th century to the present day. Play and entertainment are represented by toys, games, dolls, fancy dress, items relating to hobbies and pastimes, books, magazines and comics. Childcare and life at home, nursery and school also feature, along with a substantial costume collection reflecting children’s fashions and lifestyles. The museum also has a photographic archive.

Highlights of the collection include: 

  • Queen Anne Doll The oldest toy in the collection, a rare wooden fashion doll dating from c1740
  • Raleigh Chopper bicycle A style icon of the 1970s​
  • Kindertransport bear A tiny Steiff teddy bear which travelled out of Vienna on the last Kindertransport train to rescue Jewish children from Nazi Germany in 1939
  • Stanbrig Eorls The largest dolls house in the museum’s collection. Begun by Lena Graham Montgomery in 1894, she continued to collect for it and extend it throughout her life. Eventually, it had 19 rooms with electric light and running water. It was exhibited to raise funds for charity before being donated to the museum on the 1960s
  • Peter Rabbit soft toy A Steiff toy from the early 20th century representing the character from Beatrix Potter’s much-loved and perennially popular story. One of the first examples of merchandising for children.

Childhood in the past

Lyn Stevens, one of our curators at the Museum of Childhood, has made two videos, covering the periods 1880 - 1945 and 1945 - 2000, in which she talks about childhood in years gone by, and explores some of the oldest toys in the museum.

Museum of Childhood 1880 - 1945

Museum of Childhood 1945 - 2000

Museum of Childhood Access Guide

Click on the link below to download our comprehensive access guide and find out how you can get to and around the Museum of Childhood.

Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood BSL Tour

BSL Tour Museum of Childhood

This little place is going to make you smile from the sheer simplicity of a bygone childhood. Liz, Tripadvisor

The Museum of Childhood is a 3 star museum