V&A Museum of Childhood

Category: Museums and libraries

The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green in the East End of London is a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum (the “V&A”), which is the United Kingdom’s national museum of applied arts.

The museum was founded in 1872 as the Bethnal Green Museum, reusing a prefabricated building from Albertopolis which was replaced with some early sections of the modern V&A complex.

It was used to display a variery of collections at different times, including the works which can now be seen at the Wallace Collection. In the 1920s it began to focus on services for children, and in 1974 the director of the V&A Sir Roy Strong defined it as a specialist museum of childhood.

Of all the branches, the Bethnal Green Museum has the largest collection of childhood objects in the United Kingdom.

The mission of the museum is “To enable everyone, especially the young, to explore and enjoy the designed world, in particular objects made for and made by children.” It has extensive collections of toys, childhood equipment and costumes, and stages a programme of temporary exhibitions.

The museum closed in October 2005 for the second phase of extensive renovations.

The Museum will reopen at midday on Saturday 9 December.


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