Thursday, 24 July 2008

Museum of Childhood, Edinburgh: 23 July 2008

Courtesy of Wikipedia

On my Independent Day I chose to visit the Museum of Childhood which contains the history of childhood and toys, past and present. It opened in 1955. Not only was I excited about the content which is applicable to both adults and children, but I was curious to see the display and how interactive the Museum was.

I was both impressed and disappointed. The display of toys was unbelievable with dolls dating back to the 1800s, trains and games of my great grandmother's childhood. However, the labeling was lacking. Oftentimes I would find an object I wanted to know more about and there would be no information about it or it would simply say the name of the item with no descriptive qualities attached. As impressive as the collection was, the choice of display was overwhelming and unwieldy. It was impossible to see everything and I even spotted a film of dust along the shelving implying that there has not been much in the way of adapting the collection to the needs of today's visitor.

In addition, I discovered that there was no map or brochure to guide the visitor to specific areas of the Collection. One had to just meander through the jungle of toys and hope to discover the collection of Steiffs or the history of school uniforms. After visiting the Roald Dahl Museum & Centre and the National Library of Scotland's display of the John Murray Archive, I was amazed to see how old the display style of the Museum was. It lacked the interactive elements that engage children of all ages and the staff did not seem to be very enthusiastic about providing further information.

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