The Royal County Arbiter

21 November 2005

Museum of Childhood - pt.1

Museum of Childhood interior

On Sunday 30 October the Arbiter (plus guest) visited the Museum of Childhood in London's Bethnal Green. We were exceptionally lucky to catch this chance as the museum was closing for a year of refurbishment work from 31 October.

visitors drawing the Museum of Childhood mural

A Bon Voyage mural showing visitors' favourite toys travelling around the world was in full-swing by the time we reached the museum and a series of special events, including some highly energetic and slightly creepy performance art, happened throughout the day. There was a feeling of melancholy celebration and one can't help but remember what happened to the Museum of Moving Image, another fantastic London museum, which closed for refurbishment and relocation in 1999 and never opened again.

three toys from the Museum of Childhood

With so many amazing things to see in the museum, we barely had time to take a proper look at all of the many incredible antique toys but, of course, we did manage to get some killer snaps of some of our favourite items. Look out for upcoming RCA entries on such wonders as double-faced dolls, Pete Doherty and the Great Galumphus.

We sincerely hope that the museum will reopen as planned in autumn 2006 because it would be a true tragedy to lose such a collection and one that was open to the public for free. A selection of 20th century toys from the museum is now doing the rounds of the country in a travelling exhibition entitled "Must-Have Toys" (details here).

More from the Museum: pt.2 | pt.3 | pt.4 | pt.5


Blogger michael:

The Museum of Childhood was a favourite haunt of mine when i lived in Stepney many years ago. Sad to hear its closing down for re-furbishment. I hope they don't spoil it. The Museum of the Moving Image was great also and can't belive it hasnt been opened again, especially as the South bank is such a thriving place now.

1:42 pm  
Blogger Darrell:

A place of wonder.

I'd forgotten all about that excellent cat - I'd like to have him round for dinner.

2:46 pm  
Anonymous Kate Bines:

Hello from the MoC team. We're here and working very hard behind the scenes to get the Museum open for November.

Pete's safely in storage for the duration!

2:56 pm  

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