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Hampshire Museums Service

Childhood collection

Childhood Collections

The Childhood Collections aim to represent the past and present experiences of children living in and around Hampshire.

What do we have?

There are almost 5,000 items in the collections, dating from the 18th century to the present day. Much of the collections consist of playthings, such as toys, dolls, games and puzzles. There are also models, children’s books, teaching aids, nursery items and children’s furniture. Local toy manufacturers, such as Scalextric and Minibrix are also represented.

Why do we have them?

The objects and associated information that we collect can give us an insight into the social, cultural and economic lives of children across the ages. As everyone has had the experience of being a child, items such as toys are a particularly potent means of inspiring and informing memories of the past.

Most of our museums have Childhood related objects in their displays. Milestones has an evocative reconstruction of a 1920s toy shop and there are large displays of toys at the Curtis Museum, Alton and the Red House Museum, Christchurch. Many objects are displayed in our touring temporary exhibitions.

Outreach

There are 'Toys' sessions for KS1/2 school groups at Milestones, the Red House Museum, Christchurch and the Curtis Museum, Alton (please contact the individual museums for booking details etc.) Objects from the Childhood Collections are also used for reminiscence sessions, lectures and educational workshops.

 
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Research

Researchers and specialist groups can look at the collections in store at Chilcomb House by prior appointment.