This Iconic Children’s Museum is Being Transformed

The new museum will be a space dedicated to creativity.

London’s Museum of Childhood is being reimagined.

(BasPhoto /

London’s V&A (Victoria and Albert) Museum of Childhood has been a warm and welcoming space for kids since its founding in 1872. Now, East London’s first public museum is being reinvented as a new space dedicated to design and creativity for children and youth.

The museum, which is closed for the transformation, is being reinvented as the Young V&A, according to the museum’s website. This UK national museum was actually designed for and by young people to be a place to create and learn together.

The new space will be less about childhood nostalgia and more about challenging young people to change the world, according to The Guardian. When the museum reopens in 2023, it will be a radically different place.

Young V&A
While some of the nostalgic collections from the Museum of Childhood, including  the collection of doll houses, other V&A collections like Beatrix Potter’s illustrations of Peter Rabbit and a Superman costume that was worn by Christopher Reeve will also be on display.  There will also be exhibits of contemporary design that will inspire young people to experiment with new ideas.

“This will be a V&A for young visitors,” Philippa Simpson, director of design, estate and future plan told The Guardian. “If you imagine South Kensington but rethought totally through the eyes of a child … that’s what we are heading for.”

The redesign will feature three new galleries that will showcase 2,000 items from the collections of the V&A. The galleries, according to the museum, will be colorful and multisensory with objects that are displayed at toddler height for little ones to interactive galleries and experiences for older youth.

The Play gallery will feature everything from exploding kittens, chess to online card games. Imagine will feature exploring the characters in stories and the Design gallery will include an artist-in-residence program called the Designer’s house which will feature contemporary designs.

The building is being completely redesigned, Simpson said: “We are looking at every single corner of it and bringing a lot more space into public use. It is basically a big Victorian shed so you can’t close off one bit without closing another so we just had to run at it.”

What else is new for the V&A
The Museum of Childhood's revamp is only part of the picture of what is going on in East London. The V&A Museum, the world’s largest museum of applied arts, decorative arts, and design, is moving into a new center in Stratford's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It will be the largest move of the collections since WWII.

 “We are going to craft dynamic and compelling ways for our audiences to get close to the extraordinary, to be transported across time and geography by the most beautiful and intriguing things,” Gus Casley-Hayford, the new director told The Guardian in 2019.

The new museum site will be part of a new cultural space that will also include Sadler’s Wells dance theatre, UAL’s London College of Fashion, and the BBC recording and performance studios.  The museum is scheduled to open in 2023.

After experiencing lockdowns during the pandemic, these newly transformed museums will be welcomed by Londoners and people from all over the UK alike. From kids to seniors, the revitalized V&A will have something for everyone.

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