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

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.
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.
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



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



Girl from Craica, Romania, copyright Yvonne de Rosa

Hidden Identities Unfinished

  • 20 December 2014 — 28 June 2015

This display of photographs by Yvonne de Rosa examines the lives of children and families living under adverse conditions in Bosnia and Romania. The project was the result of a collaboration with Hope and Homes for Children, an international charity that works to prevent the breakdown of families and to ensure children grow up in a loving environment.

"Hidden Identities Unfinished powerfully demonstrates the strength of character the children have developed. Their sense of personal pride, community spirit and human kindness is to be celebrated and respected" - Sam Taylor Wood, director and artist.

Suitable for

  • Any age



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.
Romp and Roll

Romp and Roll

  • 27 September 2014 10-10:45am, 11-11:45am
  • 4 October 2014 10-10:45am, 11-11:45am
  • 11 October 2014 10-10:45am, 11-11:45am
  • 18 October 2014 10-10:45am, 11-11:45am
  • 25 October 2014 10-10:45am, 11-11:45am
  • 1 November 2014 10-10:45am, 11-11:45am
  • 8 November 2014 10-10:45am, 11-11:45am
  • 15 November 2014 10-10:45am, 11-11:45am
  • 22 November 2014 10-10:45am, 11-11:45am
  • 29 November 2014 10-10:45am, 11-11:45am
  • 6 December 2014 10-10:45am, 11-11:45am
  • 13 December 2014 10-10:45am, 11-11:45am
  • 20 December 2014 10-10:45am, 11-11:45am

Bust a move in these fun, playful dance sessions for toddlers and their carers, led by Adrenalinedance.

Suitable for

  • 0-4
  • 5-6


£3 per child (pay on the day). For ages 2-5



Play Wtih Design

Play With Design

  • 20 September 2014 11am-4pm *on now

See sketches of well-known games characters, take part in a workshop to make your own game and see characters printed by a 3D printer. If you love drawing and love games, you can explore the many areas where they meet.

This one day event showcasing design in games is part of London Design Festival.

Suitable for

  • Any age



It's My Party...

It's My Party...

  • 20 September 2014 — 5 July 2015 *on now

We all have birthdays, but how we mark the passing years is very personal. Some people do not acknowledge them or choose to share an intimate gathering with a few friends or family, whilst others throw enormous, extravagant theme parties.

Whether you are a party animal or prefer to avoid the limelight, does it feel like the expectations of children's birthday parties have escalated out of control? Does expense and scale necessarily equal the best' party or are there less indulgent ways of making birthdays special, memorable events?

Artists and children from Rushmore Primary School Hackney, and St John's Primary School Tower Hamlets, have collaborated to create the installation 'Wilfred's Party', a party with a difference.

Suitable for

  • Any age





Join the Big Draw Party - Illustration by Nick Sharratt

Join the Big Draw Party

  • 28 September 2014 11:30am-4:30pm

Join special guests writer Jacqueline Wilson and illustrator Nick Sharratt for the launch of the 2014 Big Draw. Help Pip and Squeak throw a surprise party for Wilfred, one of the Museum's shyest residents.

• Decorate the galleries with a team of artists led by Nick Sharratt.
• Design great art placemats or an art print with Marion Deuchars.
• Meet the creators of Messy Monster from children's magazine Okido.
• Play party games: pin the bone on the skeleton, race origami boats and try electric drawing.
• Enjoy giant print-making with The Culture Cart.
• Take part if a treasure hunt with Studio Hato.
• Make your own diary with The Great Diary Project.
• Draw in thread with Stitches in Time.
• Learn tips in portraiture with cartoonist Marf.

There will also be two talks during the day:

11.30 - Nick Sharratt (Age 6+)

12.15 - Jacqueline Wilson (Age 7+)

Reading of Diary Stories:

14.00 - Dr Irving Finkel, Founder of The Great Diary Project

All art materials will be provided free by Big Draw sponsor Faber-Castell.

Free / Drop in (booking is required for the talks - bookings will open in September) / All ages

Suitable for

  • Any age


Drop in (booking is required for the talks - bookings will open in September)



Rosemary Wren, Stoneware, Britain, 1980, copyright Victoria and Albert Museum

Half term: Wizz-Bangs and Pipsqueaks

  • 27 — 31 October 2014

Enjoy a half term of First World War themed activities. Hear the heroic tale of the pigeon that saved the lost battalion in the Story Spinner version of Fly Cher Ami Fly by Robert Burley. Delve into our Discovery Station, try on First World War inspired costumes and design your own medal to take home at our arts and crafts session.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Trench Football, England, 1914-18, copyright Victoria & Albert Museum

War in Words

  • 31 October 2014 12-4pm

Join celebrated poets Roger Stevens and Brian Moses for an afternoon of poetry exploring the First World War.

In collaboration with The Poetry Society.

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13
  • 14-15



Copyright Nixie Clothing

Christmas Designer Market

  • 30 November 2014 11:30am-4:30pm

Start your Christmas shopping early and find the perfect present at our Christmas Designer Market, featuring some of the UK's most exciting independent designers and makers.

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.