Tapadh Leibh, Dùn Èideann: Museum of Childhood

the royal game of gooseThe Royal and Most Pleasant Game of Goose, a late 19th century copy of the first board game!

Tapadh Leibh, Dùn Èideann. Thank you, Edinburgh. I spent a 24 hour period in Edinburgh. I had gone to Scotland to see Glasgow, but it would be foolish not to see the capital. I am very happy I did, as it is a fine place to go for a visitor. A lot to see, and pockets of real world when you strip away some of the tourist veneer.


pray poster

The Museum of Childhood along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh is free. That is the first thing. The ladies that run it are friendly and helpful. If you like a collection that is a free spirit and just lets you examine some fun things, and sometimes thoughtful, you may like this one very much.

whole wheat-Recovered

DSC_0930There are tons of things long forgotten, kind of the “junk” of childhood. 

general merchant

The Adventures of Charlie Chaplain

snakes and laddersAmong the games, The Adventures of Charlie Chaplain (2nd down) and Snakes and Ladders, a few versions  (3rd down).

I knew at once when I saw the game, that Milton Bradley had taken the idea of this boardgame, and renamed it Chutes and Ladders. That along with Candy Land, became Milton Bradley’s introduction into board games for the very young. And here was the game, actually British in roots. These are post-Froebel playthings, to educate children. Just as Mother Goose rhymes were a way of introducing concepts and strengthening mnemonic strategies (memorization) in another day and age.


punch and judyThere is a section on the old cardboard toy stages and diaoramas, 



DSC_0873xPrncess, must have been the Queen, as a girl (above).

stuff2I was laughing over the toilet in the dollhouse (above right).




ferriis girl boy2

Along with this are the very sexist playthings that will help girls into womanhood (dolls, minature playhouses, kitchen items, etc.) as opposed to those which will lead their male counterparts (erector sets, tinkertoys, sports, etc.). Amazing how the GI Joe dolls of the 70s and the Masters of the Universe changed some of that. Legos too.

student work and Candice Stephenson's Shortlisted2Poster contest shortlist including (right) Candice Stephenson’s work.

In one room there was wonderful student artwork of many ages. It was all well done. I especially liked the Candice Stephenson work, which was so well done for a child of 15. All of the work was of high quality and displayed simply and effectively.

hallwayA quiet moment along a hallway.


It’s funny how the world changes. There was a display of little gollywogs. It seemd so alien now, One appears with the little Campbell soup looking little girl (above, right). To some it might appear as naiveté, to others plain old racist.

Looking at the Lone Wranger stuff reminded me of the old Mad magazine cartoon, which I have carried in my head for years. Two guys from Saturday morning TV always seemed ridiculous to me as a kid: Superman and the Lone Ranger. Superman, at least always seemed to camp it up, take it as a joke. But the Lone Ranger with his pedantic, kimosavee thing, yuck. The cartoon, not part of the exhibition, seemed to be a fitting end to him. Although boomerangs with a certain racism.

lone ranger imagery2


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One Response to “Tapadh Leibh, Dùn Èideann: Museum of Childhood”

  1. Christina Webb Says:

    Good afternoon,

    I work at Lonely Planet here in London, where we are creating a gift book that will present a list of what we think are the best museums in the whole world – whether it’s because of an unusual subject, historical importance or unforgettable information.

    We would love to feature the Museum of Childhood in the book. We do need to accompany each listing with at least one photo, that will give a good sense of the museum and show the reader just why they should visit.

    It would be fantastic if we could feature on of your images. Would you have an image (or images) suitable? It would need to be at least 300dpi and as high-res as possible, without any filters applied to it. We can credit the name of the photographer alongside the image too.

    Do let me know if you have any questions.

    Thank you – I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards,


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