The V&A Museum of Childhood houses the national collection of childhood. It holds over 26,000 objects and 61 archival collections that span 400 years, from 1600 to the present day. The collection encompasses both extraordinary and everyday objects across a huge range of types, materials and techniques – including prototypes and objects that have been mass-manufactured as well as hand-made (sometimes by children themselves). Objects in the collection speak to both the lived experience of children and how the world has been designed with children in mind.
The collection includes an internationally renowned collection of over 100 dolls houses; furniture designed for children; internationally significant collections of dolls and games – from pioneering pedagogical eighteenth century games and puzzles to mass-manufactured construction sets and bestselling board-games; toys of every conceivable type including soft and mechanical toys, figures and vehicles; early years and nursery equipment, including prams, rattles and feeding vessels; a significant costume collection for both sexes including rare survivals of everyday working clothes as well as fantastical fancy dress outfits; paintings, prints, drawings and photographs depicting children and examples of children’s own creativity, agency and imaginative worlds expressed through their writing and works of art and design.
Highlights include one of Britain’s oldest rocking horses, a sculptural installation of dolls houses by artist Rachel Whiteread and the archive collection of Donne Buck (a play leader and campaigner for children’s right to play) including about 1400 photographs tracking the origins and growth of adventure playgrounds across Britain.
Over the next year, the V&A Museum of Childhood and the V&A’s collections will be audited, assessed and packed, ready to move to a new purpose-built Collections and Research Centre in Stratford's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. With new research spaces, a central public collection hall, pop-up displays, performances and screenings, and behind-the-scenes access, the V&A Project is reinventing how we store our collections – and how you can encounter them. To prepare for this major move, we will be pausing object viewing appointments from December 2019, before reopening at V&A East in Spring/Summer 2023.
The most up to date information on the collections can be accessed via
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