Saturday, December 17, 2011

Belated London post: 5 December 2011 - the V&A Museum of Childhood and Broadway Market

Well this was a gem of a find --- Neil had been to Broadway Market earlier in the year (whilst me and the girls were indulging in Much Ado), and mentioned that to get to it you had to go to Bethnel Green tube station on the Central Line and walk past the Museum of Childhood.

Walk past?

I don't think so.

Turned out this wasn't as he thought just the Tower Hamlets museum of childhood, but rather a spectacular outpost of the Victoria and Albert Museum: the Museum of Childhood is a full blown brilliant space with a great collection and lots to see and do.

As you go in the wonderful entrance-way, you currently encounter an exhibition of Julia Margaret Cameron's photographs of children. There is also a brilliant display called The Stuff of Nightmares, featuring the tale of Fundelvogel.

There are the expected collections of children's toys and amusements through the centuries --- everything from Star Wars memorabilia to 18th century dolls-houses, from baby's rattles from many centuries ago to the latest must have robot toys.

But the exhibitions are so much more than 'just' these treats - there are also several excellently put together displays on themes, as exemplified by the Magic Worlds show (on til 4 March 2012) on magic and illusion, fantasy and enchantment. It covers everything from children's magic sets to Derren Brown, from Grimm's Fairy Tales to Walter Crane's Flower Fairies, from Middle-Earth to mermaids. It's beautiful, fascinating and covers every medium of product, story-telling and imagery. Gloriously displayed to please both enquiring young minds and memory-driven adults.

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