V&A Museum of Childhood

Museum of childhood sign

I love this museum.

It has a big Victorian entrance hall, a lot like the one at the Museum of Scotland.

It’s so fun to wander round – compact, nicely laid out, and stuffed to the gills with old toys that will give you sudden nostalgic flashbacks.

We totally had one of these!

It’s not all 80s moulded plastic, though. They have some amazing dollhouses that date back hundreds of years, and plenty of creepy dolls to stock them.

Victorian dolls house

Dolls house living room

I liked this old flyer for a music hall show, part of their current ‘Magic Worlds’ exhibition.

Not quite so keen on this terrifying beardy man. This is a children’s museum, right?

There’s some interesting vintage sewing bits and pieces – including these toy sewing machines (also a tiny washing machine and mangle!) Get the domestic servitude started early, that’s the ticket.

My favourite bit was a small exhibition in the front entrance, called The Stuff of Nightmares. It’s based on The Brothers Grimm’s Fundevogel, which apparently is “a tale of abduction, fear, evil old women, revenge and ultimately, friendship”.

Just ignore that lame ‘friendship’ part, which has clearly been added by a overly PC curator, because this is a delightful reminder of how twisted, scary, and bizarre the Grimm folk tales are.

Sorry for the multitude of photos but I couldn’t resist. The baby stealing bird! The strange, glowing, big eyed dogs! The AGM of weird creatures on a toadstool! The Victorian pram!

I strongly urge you to go and see this exhibition before it ends in February next year (it’s already been there since Jan 2011). It’s small but exceedingly odd and I loved it.

Also, the museum has a pleasingly geometric floor, which (true fact), was made by Victorian women prisoners at Woking prison.