V&A Museum of Childhood

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






020 8983 5200


020 8983 5225

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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.
Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

  • 12 October 2013 — 24 August 2014 *on now

An exploration of design at the chalkface. This exhibition looks at some of the effects of environment and design on teaching and learning from the formality of the Victorian classroom to the outdoors self–directed learning of a wood school.

In collaboration with Cazenove Architects, specialists in educational design, the Museum has worked with pupils from Gayhurst Primary and Clapton Girls’ Academy, Hackney, to develop furniture design solutions. Architecture students from the University of East London have designed a classroom structure for Paupers Wood School, Manchester. A choir from St Paul’s Way Trust School, Tower Hamlets, have developed a calming acoustic installation with musicians Jason Sigh and Laura Howe

Suitable for

  • Any age



Jacqueline Wilson © Barry Pells, 2011 for Seven Stories

Daydreams and Diaries: The Story of Jacqueline Wilson

  • 5 April — 2 November 2014 *on now

This exhibition celebrates all things Jacqueline Wilson, giving you a chance to find out about her childhood, early career and what inspires her to write.

The exhibition features original notebooks along with childhood toys, school reports and diaries. There are also extracts and illustrations from some of her best-loved books including The Story of Tracy Beaker, The Illustrated Mum and Hetty Feather. Find out about the inspiration behind them and hear how they have changed the lives of some of their readers.

You can explore a re-creation of Jacqueline's childhood bedroom or make notes for your first novel on a chaise longue just like hers! Find out why Jacqueline loves writing books and what it's like to work with wonderful illustrator Nick Sharratt.

Jacqueline has written nearly 100 books and is dearly loved by millions of fans all over the world. Over 35 million copies of her books have been sold in the UK alone and they have been translated into 34 different languages.

V&A Museum of Childhood is the only London venue for Daydreams and Diaries, a touring exhibition originating from Seven Stories, National Centre for Children's Books.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



The Great Diary Project

The Great Diary Project

  • 17 May — 12 October 2014 *on now

Using documents from The Great Diary Project archive at Bishopsgate Institute, this exhibition offers insights into the lives of children and teenagers at particular moments in history. The diaries on display date from 1813 to 1996, showing changes in attitudes over time and demonstrating how an individual's unique voice can be captured in this very private kind of writing.

On public display for the first time, they include tales of flogging and bed bugs at boarding school during the Napoleonic Wars, early twentieth century American Scout diaries, as well as coded accounts of wild teenage behaviour during the Blitz.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Hand Me Over Hand Me Downs

Hand Me Over Hand Me Downs

  • 24 May — 31 August 2014 *on now

This display examines the UK's international adoption policies, focusing on adoption from China. Taking artist Annabel Stockman's photographic project Hand Me Over Hand Me Downs as inspiration, it centres around the moment an adoptive child joins their new family.

Annabel Stockman started Hand Me Over Hand Me Downs after she and her husband adopted their two children. Her images document the clothes, toys, keepsakes and good luck charms that their children, and 71 others, owned and brought with them as they started their new lives in the UK. Their possessions reflect the culture and traditions of their previous homes, the relationships they had with their carers, and the fears or hopes of those carers. In many cases these items are the strongest connection the families have to that important moment, so memorable to the adults but unknown to the child too young to remember.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Toy Stories

Toy Stories

  • 7 June — 14 December 2014 *on now

What do your favourite toys reveal about you? Toy Stories is a series of children's portraits exploring the role and function of toys in the lives of children around the globe. Consisting of 21 photographs taken by Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti, the portraits reflect the impact of the children's backgrounds and families on their choice of toys and highlight the universality of play.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Killer Cabinet - kitchen detail of dolls' house

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House

  • 13 December 2014 — 6 September 2015

The V&A Museum of Childhood’s major 2014-15 exhibition Small Stories: At home in a dolls’ house will reveal the fascinating stories behind some of the UK’s best-loved dolls’ houses.

Through the stories of 12 dolls’ houses from the past 300 years, visitors will be taken on a journey through the history of the home, everyday lives and changing family relationships. The small stories of each house will be brought to life by the characters that live or work there.

Day-to-day life will be illuminated through tales of marriages and parties, politics and crime. Each house will be displayed at a particular time of day and visitors can use buttons alongside the showcases to activate the narration and light up each character as they talk.

The exhibition encompasses country mansions, the Georgian town house, suburban villas, newly-built council estates and high-rise apartments. Displayed chronologically, the houses will also show developments in architecture and design.

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.

ARTBASH Camp: Dreamers

  • 28 July — 1 August 2014 *on now

Enjoy a whole week of arty fun! Young artists will develop their creative skills through a programme of imaginative workshops. On arrival, each child will be given a sketchbook to develop their ideas. Each day will include several art activities, experimenting with exciting materials, many recycled. As well as linking to the Museum's displays, there will be some messy outdoor workshops. Bring a packed lunch and dress for mess.

For further details contact linda@artbash.co.uk

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 7-10


£140 per week or £40 per day (10% sibling discount). Book from 1 May to 18 July on www.artbash.co.uk/book

For children aged 5 to 11



Art in the Gardens

Family Fun Fridays: Art in the Gardens

  • 8 August 2014 11am-4pm

Join us for a day of creative fun! Make art, listen to stories and (hopefully!) enjoy the sunshine. Story Spinner will perform The Magic Story Pot - a new tale by Rebekah Lattin-Rawstone featuring a fairy, a boy and a magic story pot! Craft a clay character, flaunt a flamboyant headdress, or design a trendy t-shirt (£3).

Suitable for

  • Any age




Family Fun Fridays: Story Fest - A Day of Tales

  • 15 August 2014 11am-4pm

Build a story! Tell a tale! Spin a yarn! Join us for a day of storytelling, with popular tales from far and wide. Delve into our Reading Den with a book from our Pop Up Library. Make a bookmark or decorate a book bag (£3). The event is curated by Story Spinner, who will also be performing their latest show, the Magic Story Pot.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Puppet Play

Family Fun Fridays: Puppet Play

  • 22 August 2014 11am-4pm

Jiggle along with Indigo Moon Theatre's 'Saraswati' dancing marionette from Rajasthan. Make an Indian dancing puppet and try out its Bollywood moves in a creative workshop (for ages 3+, sign up on the day). Create a finger puppet or produce a pop up theatre to take home. Take part in a Puppet Parade at 15.45 to show off what you've made.

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.