Pocket Britain
Britain > Scotland > Edinburgh > Museum of Childhood

A museum that's more like a playground

Listen to this article


Toy Collection
Old Street Games
1930's Classroom
The word "museum" doesn't usually fill young children with excitement. It conjures up images of glass cases in silent rooms, faded photographs and broken pottery. Smashing this stereotype into smithereens is the Edinburgh Museum of Childhood. This is not a place where you'll find peace and quiet. It's often described as "the noisiest museum in the world".
Squeals and shrieks fill the air as the kids explore this treasure trove of games and toys. For them, it's like paradise. For adults, it summons up an inevitable wave of nostalgia. The exhibits cover all eras and generations, from classic doll houses to the latest arcade games. The favourite teddy bears of tiny babies share space with the train sets of teenagers. There are comic books, musical instruments and bicycles. Elsewhere you'll find all sorts of bleeping electronic gadgets from the modern age. If a product has ever entertained a child, it's probably in the building somewhere.
Of course, when children don't have access to any of these physical toys, they invariably just make up their own entertainment. The museum shows you the imaginative street games that Edinburgh's youngsters once invented. Other exhibits look at the education and fashions of decades gone by. You can eavesdrop on a 1930s classroom, where the young pupils learn multiplication tables by chanting them out loud. You'll also see how life changed for the average child, as the decades passed by.
The exhibitions owe their existence to a local councillor called Patrick Murray. When the museum opened in 1955, it became the first one in the world to focus specifically on childhood. Despite this achievement, Murray still insisted that children were "only tolerable after their baths and on the way to bed!".
Visitor Information
The Museum of Childhood is open daily from 10am (12pm Sundays) to 5pm. Entry is FREE. 42 High Street, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 1TG. Tel: 0131 529 4142

Back ~ Top ~ Home ~ Index

Pocket Britain is optimised for use on a smartphone or tablet with internet access. All content is subject to copyright. All reasonable methods have been used to ensure information supplied is accurate at the time of publication. However, it is advisable to check information before relying on it. Privacy Policy