Museum of Childhood
Established1955 (1955)
LocationRoyal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland
Collection size60,000
Visitors225,000 (2017)
FounderPatrick Murray
OwnerCity of Edinburgh Council
WebsiteOfficial website

The Museum of Childhood is a museum which houses a collection of children's toys and playthings, situated on the Royal Mile, in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was the first museum in the world to specialise in the history of childhood.[1]


The collection, which ranges from the 18th to the 21st century, was originally the work of Patrick Murray (1908-1981), an Edinburgh Councillor and passionate collector of toys and childhood memorabilia.[2] It first opened to the public in 1955 and moved to its present home on Edinburgh's royal mile in 1957 housed in what was formerly the Salvation Army's hall.[3][4]

In 1986 the museum expanded into neighbouring properties to expand the floor and display space.[4] Highlight items in the collection include a teddy bear brought to the UK by a child on the Kindertransport, a dollhouse with working lighting and plumbing systems and a Queen Anne doll from 1740.[5]


In 2017 the museum underwent a major refurbishment including the installation of new display cabinets and lighting for exhibits. The refurbishment also saw the installation of a new digital photo gallery which offers a look at the changing way children grew up across the twentieth century.[4][1] In 2017 it was estimated that the museum had around 225,000 visitors per year and it had around 60,000 objects in its collection.[4]

The museum has a number of interactive spaces to encourage play amongst younger visitors.[5] Admission to the museum is free and it is run and owned by City of Edinburgh Council.[5]

The collection includes one of the Scottish Government's baby boxes as of 2018. This is a maternity package offered to all new parents in Scotland.[6]


See also


  1. ^ a b "Childhood Museum sets reopening date". BBC News. 8 February 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Childhood Collections". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  3. ^ Gazetteer for Scotland
  4. ^ a b c d "Childhood Museum closes for revamp". BBC News. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Museum of Childhood". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Scotland's baby box immortalised in Edinburgh's Museum of Childhood". Retrieved 9 March 2020.

Coordinates: 55°57′01″N 3°11′08″W / 55.9504°N 3.1856°W / 55.9504; -3.1856