V&A Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood

I visited the Museum of Childhood in London (after it having been recommended by practicing Fine Artists and ex-Brookes foundation students Jordan Mouzouris and Rosie Wyllie).

Having never heard of it before, it was a really interesting and inspiring visit. The collection contains a variety of different types of toys, from paper-based to electronic and typical plastic dolls. I liked seeing how the types of toys and appearances of them have changed over time, from an initial preoccupation with making everything as realistic as possible and 3D, to later styles using the more modern, simplified, illustrative styles that make them seem somewhat friendlier.

The interesting ways of creating movement in still images, e.g. through use of flipbooks and moving reels of different frames of images creating the illusion of movement when being spun quickly.


The variety of toys on display made me consider how I could use toys as a way of laying out my own work, perhaps creating an interactive board game, presenting photographs as a series of cards or creating my own dolls and toys. Interactive artwork is something which is of interest to me, as I feel as though the tactile nature of children’s toys and frequent focus on the senses – touch, smell, sight, sound, etc, is something which the viewers of my artwork in the final presentation should also be able to experience.

The panel had recommended that I think about HOW I want the viewers to feel. This is a key aspect of my work, and I feel as though humour is probably an important thing to take into account. I want the viewer to be engaged in the work, having a lot to look at and take in, and my work may also be humorous in contrast to the surrounding pieces if positioned beside more serious professional-looking pieces.

The museum also included a few pieces of artwork by artists, one of which particularly interests me. Artist Rachel Whiteread has built up a collection of 150 doll’s houses which have different styles and have been built at different times. The lights are left on in the houses yet they look deserted and empty, and I like how her work has now been displayed in the museum, a place from which she got some of her inspiration for the project from an early age.

Rachel Whiteread, 'Place (Village)'
Rachel Whiteread, ‘Place (Village)’

I also found it interesting to note how different the signs for things were to many typical museums, instead being aimed at children, so being simplified and asking questions at the end of information, such as ‘Do you know a scary black cat?’ This could be another idea to explore when exhibiting my artwork n a gallery – perhaps the title and information about my work could be in a simplified format, at different heights from the ground?


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