Tue 9 Oct 2018
Last weekend I went to the Museum of Childhood on the Royal Mile with my husband and our two kids, aged 3 and 5. I’d been there before a few years ago, but it was refurbished quite recently so I was interested to see what changes had been made.
The museum is huge, with five galleries full of toys dating from the 1700s to the present day. Only the first floor gallery has been refurbished, so it has quite a different look and feel to the rest of the museum, with more modern signage and displays. It serves as an introduction to play, exploration and learning over the years and there are a wide variety of toys on display. From a Queen Anne Doll circa 1740, the oldest toy in the collection, right up to a 21st century Buzz Lightyear figure. There were lots of items that I recognised from my own childhood in the 1980s and 90s too. It made me feel kind of old to see how dated they looked.
The rest of the galleries were more old-fashioned, with large glass display cabinets full of toys from different eras. And a few mocked-up scenes showing children playing with old toys. I actually preferred these older galleries, as there was so much more to see here.
There was a very creepy room full of old dolls. But it was actually really interesting to read about all the different types and their uses over time. My son loved all the old trains sets and my daughter enjoyed looking at the intricate dolls houses. It was funny, when looking at the old school room scene I had to explain to the kids what the blackboard was for, because nowadays they have huge interactive screens instead. How times have changed!
Throughout the museum, we found toys and activities for the kids to play with. This kept them happy while my husband and I looked at the displays in more detail and read the information. It was great, I wish all museums had this.
Entry to the museum is free, but you can make a donation. It’s well worth a visit. Fun for the kids and bit of nostalgia for adults of all ages.
Museum of Childhood, 42 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1TG