The Museum of Childhood is now once again open to the public. The brand new Gallery One features 60 rarely-seen objects relating to childhood life, learning and play following a five-month refurbishment of the ground floor. Newly displayed items include retro favourites like this Buzz Lightyear action figure from the year 2000, a Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone dating to 1979 and more!

This is the first major change since then and the refurbishment sees new cases, floors and lights installed and objects displayed as the ground floor is opened into an interactive space, with dedicated zones focusing on memories of life at home, in school and at play.  An area for film and a digital photo album will also be launched, focusing on how children have grown up in Edinburgh over the decades.

The Museum of Childhood has a place in the hearts of millions. The first museum in the world dedicated to the history of childhood, it displays toys and games from across the generations. The Museum also explores other aspects of growing up, from schooldays and clubs to clothing, health and holidays.

For further details about the refurbishment see our news release and discover Stories of Childhood on the Museum of Childhood blog 

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. 

For all accessibility enquiries please contact: 

Diana Morton
diana.morton@edinburgh.gov.uk
0131 529 4057

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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