V&A Museum of Childhood
Cambridge Heath Road
020 8983 5200
020 8983 5225
Welcoming over 400,000 visitors through its doors every year, the V&A Museum of Childhood in London's Bethnal Green houses the Victoria and Albert Museum's collection of childhood-related objects and artefacts, from the 1600s to the present day.
The collection features toys - including dolls, dolls' houses, puppets and teddy bears - games, childcare, clothing, furniture and art and photography. In addition, the Museum runs a dynamic programme of temporary exhibitions and displays, a wide variety of activities, events and workshops for adults and families, outreach projects in hospitals and the local community, and an award-winning programme for schools.
The Museum aims to encourage everyone to explore the themes of childhood past and present, and to develop an appreciation of creative design through our inspirational collections and varied public programme.
Closed: 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January
To book an event or teaching session, call 020 8983 5205 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Museum of Childhood houses the UK's largest collection of toys including dolls, dolls' houses, puppets, games, optical toys and automata.
It also has a significant children's costume and nursery equipment collection. Its collection dates from the 16th century to the present day.
Costume and Textiles, Toys and Hobbies
Red Balloon 86
Red Balloon 86 is a fantasy work by Czech photographer Hana Vojácková. Consisting of 5 large format photographs and a video, it tells the story of a ghostly boy wandering around an abandoned city in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, and explores the link between childhood fantasy and the reality of adults.
War Games is a major new exhibition that explores how children re-enact war through imaginative play and showcases a wealth of war games, toys, books and comics from 1800 to the present day.
See how toys have been made to reflect the changing technologies and tactics of the battlefield from cavalry charges to modern stealth technology. Take a trip into the realm of fantasy and science fiction where intergalactic armies do battle with monsters and robots. Explore how games and toys have been used in surprising ways as tools of propaganda, to train or influence, to comfort and heal, and even to aid escape.
War is an inescapable part of our world and war play can be considered a controversial activity for children. In this exhibition visitors are asked to contribute their views to debates on war toys: do they really encourage aggressive behaviour and is war play only for boys?
This engaging and interactive exhibition also offers a chance for children to join in, dress up for war and have a go at military skills from observation on the battlefield to top secret code breaking.
- Any age
A Treasured Collection
Museums collect, cherish and display objects of cultural, historical and artistic significance. On a smaller scale, many of us also collect, creating our own personal assemblage of significant objects, memories and keepsakes, which preserve our past and inform our future.
What we consider valuable can be highly individual and varied from the truely mundane to the extremely precious. The things we keep reveal much about what we consider 'the important stuff' in life. Objects can provide a way of holding on to an intangible memory.
A Treasured Collection is an exbuerant and eclectic installation of 'mini museums' made with adults and children. Their personal 'enshrined' stories provide an insight into the private art of collecting.
The exhibition also features an installation by Jasleen Kaur who creates objects that travers cultural boundaries and subvert tradtional notions of use and a 'sound collection' by beat boxer Jason Singh.
- Any age
V&A Museum of Childhood, Front Room Gallery
May Half Term – Spy Kids
Disguise! Decode! Detect! Listen to Story Spinner deliver a thoughtful re-telling of Michael Foreman’s children’s book, A Child’s Garden. Unravel secret messages at the Cypher Station. Make your own Secret Agent ID card and complete an I Spy trail for a chance to win a prize. Drop-in. For all ages.
- Any age
Create a Kaleidoscope
A kaleidoscope is an optical toy invented in 1817, which used coloured glass and mirrors to create patterns. Have a go at building an online version for yourself using toys from the museum.
Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is showing a family friendly movie on the second Saturday of every month at 10.30 as part of their brand new Family Films screenings.
How to obtain
Admission is free for adults and kids - just drop in.