Museum of Childhood – Edinburgh, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Edinburgh, Scotland

Museum of Childhood

The world’s first museum dedicated to the history of childhood opened in Edinburgh in 1955. 

With exhibitions devoted to play, the history of toys, and nostalgia, the Museum of Childhood charts the generations of Edinburgh youth through the decades, as well as British youth culture going back to the 19th century.

The museum is composed of interactive play spaces and zones dedicated to specific elements of play—from a digital photo area to school memories. 

Highlights of the collection include an improvised “shoe doll” from the turn of the 20th century; a small teddy bear from Vienna that made its way on the last Kindertransport train with a Jewish child rescued from Nazi Germany in 1939; a dollhouse built in 1894 that was expanded upon until it had 19 rooms, electricity, and running water; and the oldest object in the museum’s collection, a rare wooden Queen Anne doll from 1740.

The museum now boasts newly refurbished galleries following a five-month ground floor restoration. This includes a new exhibit displaying 60 rare objects, such as a Buzz Lightyear action figure circa 2000 and a Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone from 1979. 

Know Before You Go

The Museum of Childhood is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on major holidays. Admission is free.

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