V&A Museum of Childhood

Interior of V&A Museum of Childhood
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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.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Monday-Sunday 10.00-17.45

Closed: 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January

Admission charges

Admission free

Additional info

To book an event or teaching session, call 020 8983 5205 or email mocbookings@vam.ac.uk

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.

Collection details

Costume and Textiles, Toys and Hobbies

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Kites from Kabul

  • 4 July 2015 — 3 October 2016 *on now

In Afghanistan and across South Asia, children and adults alike have flown kites for fun for over a century. The kites are brightly coloured and can be seen dotting the skyline of Kabul in the evenings. This display will bring this magical spectacle to London, celebrating the story behind one of the world's most iconic toys in one of the world's most troubled countries.

Turquoise Mountain, a British charity in Kabul, presents this unique display of handmade kites, inspired by Afghan and Islamic design motifs. The kites are made by the artists and children of the Old City of Kabul. Photos and video bring to life the rich history and culture of kite-flying.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



On Their Own: Britain's Child Migrants

  • 24 October 2015 — 12 June 2016 *on now

An exhibition telling the heart-breaking true stories of Britain's child migrants who were sent to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries between 1869 and 1970. An estimated 100,000 British children were sent overseas by migration schemes, which were run by a partnership of charities, religious organisations and governments, and claimed to offer boys and girls the opportunity of a better life in Britain's Empire overseas. Many migrants never saw their homes or their families again.

Featuring detailed first-hand stories, photography and personal items which belonged to child migrants, as well as video and audio which recount this period of history. There will also be a series of specially commissioned folk songs by leading British musicians including John McCusker, Julie Matthews and Boo Hewerdine that capture the reality of child migrants' lives, which visitors can listen to at certain points in the exhibition.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



The Tales we Tell

  • 14 November 2015 — 3 July 2016 *on now

This exhibition presents a rare insight into Warli, a tribal art form from Western India. Drawing on a store of tribal memory, myths and everyday life, it has evolved from restricted ritual drawings into an applied art in the process of transition. Focusing on the innovative style of Jivya Soma Mashe, who opened up the traditions of Warli to a new iconography, and his follower Ramesh Hengadi, who has developed his own distinctive style in response to the changes in community life, shift in local markets and global economies.

Also featuring a film by artist, Johnny Magee reflecting on Mashe's practice and daily life. An installation created through a pictorial exchange between puils at Redlands Primary School, Tower Hamlets and a village school in Dahanu, Thane. The children use the accessible narrative language of Warli to tell each other stories about their respective lives.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Weird Museum at Night

  • 12 May 2016 7-9pm

Dare to bring your friends on a twilight journey through the weird history of toys
and childhood. Explore the Museum, its Collection and its building and discover the strange quirks of puppetry, dolls houses and Victorian toys. Discover hidden corners of the Collection in a scavenger hunt and try some object handling of an unusual variety, before taking a tour through the weird and wonderful quirks of the Museum and unwinding at the bar.

Suitable for

  • Any age





Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

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.

Family Films


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.

V&A Museum of Childhood
Cambridge Heath Road
Bethnal Green
Greater London
E2 9PA






020 8983 5200


020 8983 5225

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.