Museum of Childhood Closed from 18 March 2020 Menu

The V&A Museum of Childhood is transforming…

Architectural render reimagining the museum’s main hall into ‘The Town Square’ © AOC Architecture

From 11 May 2020, we are closing our doors for two years to undergo a radical £13m reimagination of our collections, galleries, building and public programme into a world-leading centre of creativity for children.

From objects displayed at a toddlers’ height, to dressing up boxes net to couture fashion, and huge new variety of spaces for hands-on making, the new museum will be shaped in entirety around the way in which children aged 0-14 explore, play and learn.

Architectural render of the new PLAY gallery © AOC Architecture

The most ambitious redevelopment in the V&A Museum of Childhood’s history, we are developing the plans to champion the role of creativity on the school curriculum and nurture the next generation of artists, designers, makers and innovators.

Photography of local schoolchildren with star objects set to go on show when the museum reopens © Getty/ Tristan Fewings

Objects from the museum’s beloved collections of board-games and dolls houses will be joined by iconic works from the V&A’s extraordinary collections of art, design and performance, as well as acquisitions from around the world – over 2,000 in total.

Architectural render of the new IMAGINE gallery © AOC Architecture

We want to create an unforgettable first museum experience for children. Hollywood props and costumes including the original Superman costume and Frankenstein’s Monster, and Mary Poppins’ magical umbrella will be set within theatrical displays to inspire the screenwriters, authors and story-tellers of tomorrow.

Photography of local schoolchildren with star objects set to go on show when the museum reopens © Getty/ Tristan Fewings

Works by leading creatives such as Issey Miyake and Yves Behar will explore how objects are made next to ‘open studio’ areas, introducing young innovators of the future to inspirational design.

Architectural render of the new DESIGN gallery © AOC Architecture

A 125-person-capacity performance space The Stage will form the new centrepiece for the museum’s popular daily programme of family activities. It will also present a platform for children to perform their own shows.

Architectural render of a new 125-capacity-performance space ‘The Stage’ © AOC Architecture

The main hall will also be reimagined into ‘The Town Square’ to create a more inviting and social space at the heart of the museum.

Before we bid our fond farewells, a three-day free RE-Invent’ festival will be held over the first May bank holiday (May 8 to 10) featuring live performances, a specially commissioned artist installation and drop-in events, celebrating the current museum’s final weekend before the doors close on 11 May 2020 to enable construction.

When building work starts in Bethnal Green, we’ll still be about! From late May, our pop-up can be found in Ideas Store Whitechapel, visiting schools in Tower Hamlets and other sites across London and the South East.

The plans have been developed by east London-based architecture and design practice AOC. Their ambition is to create a museum filled with natural light, vibrant colour, and playful, multi-sensory environments – to create a world-class, free day out for families.

Planning permission and Listed Building Consent was achieved for the base-build scheme in August 2019. Developed by architecture practice De Matos Ryan, the design will unlock staff areas into new learning studios, create a new ‘Kaleidoscopic’ staircase for the new Town Square, improve the museum’s facilities and enable essential renovation of the infrastructure.

We’ve refined the proposals through over 40 co-design sessions with local schoolchildren, teachers, SEND and community groups and families, and welcome all feedback on the plans. Please get in touch with a member of a team at moc@vam.ac.uk

V&A Museum of Childhood
Bethnal Green

The museum is currently closed

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Exhibition - Jan von Holleben – Picture This!

Jan von Holleben – Picture This!

17 January until 10 May 2020

View the exhibition

Activity - Daily activities (term-time)

daily acitivites

Details of free drop-in activities taking place during term time, including arts and crafts, tours, trails and storytelling.

Find out about activities

V&A Museum of Childhood collections

Discover the national collection of Childhood related objects, from ideas to design, toys to schoolbooks. All Museum of Childhood Objects

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