The Museum of Childhood was the first museum in the world to be dedicated to the history of childhood and it attracts over 200,000 visitors a year.  Amongst the displays you will find toys, games, clothes, books and dolls, dating from the 1800s to the present day.

Following a major refurbishment in 2018 the Museum of Childhood now has a new interactive gallery which explores a child’s life at home, at school and at play. Newly displayed items include favourites such a Buzz Lightyear action figure, a Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone and an Xbox as well as more unusual items such as Radio Rex – a 1920s voice activated toy.

There are five galleries to explore throughout which you will find fascinating and rare objects as well as toys you may recognise from your own childhood. 

Discover Stories of Childhood on the Museum of Childhood blogD

See you soon!

Details

  • Opening times
  • How to get here
  • Contact the venue
  • Facilities and access
  • Groups

Museum of Childhood Gallery One Renovation

This vital work transformed Gallery One into a colourful, modern and fully accessible space which focuses on the themes of play, exploration and learning. Click the button below to donate to contribute to one of Edinburgh's best loved visitor attractions. 

Quintro Board game at Museum of childhood

Collection Highlights

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
  • Shoe Doll A doll made in London c1905 from the sole of a shoe and scraps of household fabric. A poignant reminder of families who couldn’t afford to buy toys, saved for posterity by British collector, Edward Lovett.
  • 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.
Teapot set at Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood Access Guide

Download our comprehensive access guide to find out how you can get to and around the Museum of Childhood. 

Museum of Childhood

For all accessibility enquiries please contact the venue on: 

+44 (0) 131 529 4142
museumsandgalleries@edinburgh.gov.uk

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

Museum Of Childhood Donations

The Museum of Childhood has always benefited from many generous donations and we continue to welcome these to build on the breadth and variety of the collections.  However, as with all museum collections, storage and display space is restricted and we have to make sure we do not have too many of the same sort of object.

What we ARE collecting…

We are actively collecting toys, books, children’s clothes, photographs and domestic items from the 1970s onwards as this is where we have the least number of objects in our collections.  We are also particularly interested in any items relating to childhood during World War II.

What we do NOT need…

We are not collecting dolls’ or babies’ prams pre 1980, christening robes, collections of dolls in foreign costumes, baby clothes pre 1940, party dresses, train sets, encyclopaedias, Dinky cars, dolls’ houses and furniture pre 1970 or baby dolls pre 1970.

Contacting Us

If you have items that you think we would be interested in collecting, please do not bring them into the Museum in the first instance, but get in touch with a Curator by telephone or email. Ideally you could also send a photograph. Our contact details are as follows:

Susan Gardner
0131 529 4119
susan.gardner@edinburgh.gov.uk

Lyn Stevens
0131 556 9163
lyn.stevens@edinburgh.gov.uk

Please note that we do not offer valuations.  If you wish to have your item conserved or repaired you can search for a contact at conservationregister.com or scottishconservationstudio.co.uk.

The Museum of Childhood is a 3 star museum

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