The Museum of Childhood is a small, free museum on Edinburgh's Royal Mile aimed at adults and children. The museum, which is run by the City of Edinburgh Council, brings together antique toys, dolls, teddy bears, vintage train sets, tricycles, and old video games to tell the story of childhood past and present.
Originally opening in 1955, the museum was the brainchild of town councillor Patrick Murray. It was the first museum in the world to specialise in the history of childhood.
In March 2018, the Museum of Childhood re-opened following a 5-month refurbishment of its ground floor, Gallery One.
The gallery has some hands-on activities for children such as dress-up, magnetic building blocks, and memory games. There are also multimedia components capturing elements of childhood past, that are more likely to appeal to grown-up kids, particularly for nostalgia value.
Black-and-white footage in one corner of the museum shows children chanting multiplication tables in a 1930s schoolroom and Edinburgh children of the 1950s playing street games. Photographs and artifacts such as period clothing bring visitors closer to the childhood experience of earlier eras though the antique toys are kept well out of arm's reach behind display cabinet for obvious reasons.
The Museum of Childhood also organises a regular programme of temporary exhibitions and events.