Girl with colourful windmill at Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh
Credit: Edinburgh Museums

Museum of Childhood

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Museum of Childhood, 42 High Street, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 1TG

Located on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, the Museum of Childhood is home to a large collection of toys and games from the 18th to the 21st century. The toy museum is popular with visitors of all generations, from playful children to nostalgic adults.

The World’s First Museum of Childhood

An Edinburgh Town Councillor named Patrick Murray started the museum in 1955. He had read in the news that a collection of Victorian Dolls were being sent away from Scotland to London. This was because there was nowhere local to display them. So he had the idea to set up a toy museum in Edinburgh. And it became the first museum in the world dedicated to the history of childhood.

There are now over 60,000 items in the museum. There are many things you may remember from your own childhood. Such as Corgi cars, baby dolls, comics, Barbies and Sindys, Storm Troopers and My Little Ponies. There are also some more unusual exhibits. Including an early Steiff Bear collection, a very detailed dolls house with over 20 rooms and 2000 items inside, and a miniature 1880s grocers shop complete with prime cuts of meat and its own tiny butcher.

Latest Refurbishment

In the first major change since the museum opened, the museum re-opened in 2018 after a huge refurbishment. The ground floor became an interactive space, with new cases, floors, lights, objects and dedicated zones focusing on memories of childhood at home, in school and at play.  There’s also an area for film and a digital photo album, which shows how children have grown up in Edinburgh over the decades.

Visit the Museum of Childhood

See the Edinburgh Museums website for more information.