The V&A Museum of Childhood houses the UK’s national collection of childhood objects, ranging in date from the 1600s to the present day. As well as toys, dolls, dolls’ houses, games and puzzles, the Museum also has a wealth of objects relating to many other aspects of childhood, including home and childcare, play and learning, clothing, representations of childhood, archival collections and ephemera.

In the Museum, rare hand-crafted objects such as the earliest surviving English rocking horse (from around 1605) sit alongside well-loved toys from the 20th century. Together, these objects allow us an insight into how different children might have lived, thought and felt, through the objects they were surrounded by throughout their childhood.

Collecting Childhood Blog

Collecting Childhood Blog

Assistant Curator Alice Sage blogs about some of the discoveries the collections team make in the course of researching the collection.

Read more
FAQs

FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the collections, including more information about donations and valuations.

Read more

Archives

Archives

A brief description of the archive collections held by the Museum, including information on how they can be accessed.

Read more
British Toy Making project

British Toy Making project

The British Toy Making project, completed in 2013, focused on the archives of four major twentieth century British toy manufacturers.

Read more

New acquisitions

New acquisitions

This drawing shows a group of children helping each other with their gas masks. They are in a school playground, and we can see a teacher standing in one corner, keeping an eye on the row of marching pupils.

Read more
Construction toys

Construction toys

The Museum’s collection includes bricks and construction sets produced by many of the leading toy manufacturers.

Read more

Clothing

Clothing

The clothing collection includes over 6000 garments and accessories worn by children from birth up to their teenage years.

Read more
Dolls

Dolls

The Museum of Childhood holds the largest collection of dolls in the UK.

Read more

Dolls' houses

Dolls' houses

We can learn a lot about how people used to live through looking into the Museum’s collection of around 100 dolls’ houses.

Read more
Early years

Early years

Objects from the crucial first months and years of a child’s life, including bottles, swaddling clothes and walkers from the 1700s to today.

Read more

Furniture

Furniture

The Museum’s furniture collection spans the decorative, the practical and the fun, from 1640 to the 21st century.

Read more
Games

Games

The Museum has one of the finest collections of games in the world, including 3000 examples of indoor and outdoor games and puzzles.

Read more

Learning and development

Learning and development

A unique collection of toys to help growing children walk, read, spell and prepare for the adult world.

Read more
Mechanical toys

Mechanical toys

Automata, wind-up vehicles and battery powered robots that reflect contemporary events such as war and space travel.

Read more

Must Have Toys

Must Have Toys

In 2004 an exhibition called Must Have Toys revisited the favourite childhood toys of the 20th century decade by decade - find out about the toys and toy makers explored in that exhibition.

Read more
Optical toys

Optical toys

The Museum’s collection ranges from zoetropes and magic lanterns to Sega and Nintendo games consoles.

Read more

Paintings

Paintings

The Galleries feature an impressive collection of paintings dating back to the 1600s. They represent fashion, play, and changing attitudes to childhood.

Read more
Paper Models

Paper Models

The V&A Museum of Childhood has a collection of over 14,000 paper models, most of them collected by Robert Freidus and donated to the Museum.

Read more

Puppets and toy theatres

Puppets and toy theatres

The Museum’s puppet collection includes beautiful examples from around the world and toy versions of popular television characters.

Read more
Toy figures

Toy figures

The Museum has over 1000 action figures, including famous characters as well as soldiers and civilians from Britains, Airfix and others.

Read more

Teddy bears and soft toys

Teddy bears and soft toys

The Museum’s collection of teddy bears and soft toys includes big names and famous characters like Paddington and the Care Bears.

Read more
Vehicles

Vehicles

From the smallest MicroMachines to sit-in pedal cars, children love to play with vehicles!

Read more

Shop online...

Patrick Rylands Cool Cat

The V&A online shop stocks a distinctive and refreshingly different range for children, big and little, then and now, including toys, games, books and accessories.

Buy

Tel: +44 (0)20 8983 5200 | V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA