Newest Review: ... Each display case has a typewritten information board next to it so you can read more about the toys you are seeing but I found it d... more
Edinburgh Museum of Childhood (Edinburgh)
Member Name: wigglylittleworm
Edinburgh Museum of Childhood (Edinburgh)
Advantages: free, nostalgiac
Disadvantages: some exhibits out of order
The Museum of Childhood on Edinburgh's royal mile is an attraction I have visited many times over the years with groups of different ages, my last visit being in August 2011 with a family group with members ranging in age from 13 to 81. The museum is about half way up the Royal Mile, it is easy to miss the entrance as it is a small doorway set away from the road. It looks like a normal sized storefront from the outside but once inside it expands, tardis like, to cover several floors.
Each of the floors has a different theme, for example leisure time or outdoor play and there are literally hundreds of items in each exhibit. Toys range from board games and teddy bears to bicycles and huge pedal cars. There is something from every era here with some items being hundreds of years old and others from the past couple of decades. Each display case has a typewritten information board next to it so you can read more about the toys you are seeing but I found it difficult to find the information I wanted on these tiny type written sheets and I would have liked to have been able to read more about what I was looking at.
My favourite exhibition has always been the dolls with items on display ranging from a tiny hand crafted doll several hundred years old to a modern Barbie like figure. The dolls can look creepy all sitting together in glass cases and there are some who are so ugly that it is unbelievable any child ever wanted to play with them. The huge dolls houses from the Victorian era are truly beautiful and the level of workmanship which went into producing the tiny figures and furniture is amazing. Dolls are one of those toys which have appealed to girls in all eras and it is lovely to see such a diverse display.
There are a number of interactive exhibits but sadly on my last visit many of these were out of order. These include vintage gaming machines and end of the pier entertainments. There are places where the kids can dress up, play with dolls houses or draw pictures but in general I would say this is a museum which will appeal far more to adults than children.
We had problems with accessing the upper and lower floors on our last visit because my elderly aunt finds a lot of stairs too difficult to manage and the lifts were out of order. I am wondering if the fact that both the lifts and many exhibits were out of order is because of budget cuts meaning maintenance has been cut but I am hoping that I just happened to visit on a bad day.
There is a small gift shop inside the museum which sells a range of toys, books and souvenirs at reasonable prices with an emphasis on Scottish goods. I nearly bought a couple of Scots translations of classic children's books but realised I could probably buy them cheaper on Amazon! There is no café within the museum although there are chairs and benches dotted around if you want to have a rest and because it is on the Royal Mile there are plenty of places to have a drink and bite to eat within a minutes walk.
The beauty of the museum of childhood is that we all have been children at some point so there will be toys which you have either owned or wanted to own in the museum and you can hear adults excitedly reliving memories of their own childhoods triggered by something on display. I have taken visitors to Edinburgh to the Museum of Childhood on more than one occasion and they have always been delighted to take a walk down memory lane. Entry is free and it is very close to other attractions so it is worth popping in if you are in the area and seeing the museum for yourself.
Summary: worth a visit
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