From zoetropes and magic lanterns to film projectors and games consoles, optical toys have always fascinated children and adults. The Museum’s collection ranges from early peepshows to Sega and Nintendo games consoles. 

Zoetrope

Zoetrope

A zoetrope is a drum shaped optical toy that makes a series of drawings appear to move.

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Magic lantern

Magic lantern

Magic lanterns were the earliest devices made to produce this effect and have been around since the 17th century.

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Peepshow

Peepshow

The Museum has two early peepshows, dating from 1721, in the collection. These could be better described as mini-theatres.

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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.

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