The Story of Childhood exhibit is one of the attractions new to Milton Keynes Museum in 2022.
Two rooms are being dedicated to the history of playtime, which features primitive and rudimentary items through to the decidedly more tech orientated toys of recent decades.
“We all remember our first teddy bear, or associate a special toy with a particular time,” said Bill Griffiths, director of Milton Keynes Museum.
“Some of us will remember playing with tin toys, collecting stamps or matchboxes, winning a game of Connect 4, or getting busy with a ‘pretend’ record player.
“The Story of Childhood will evoke brilliant memories for absolutely all ages – whether you grew up with Andy Pandy or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!” Bill promised.
“The exhibit shows how times have changed for our young people over the decades; in Victorian times it was expected that children would begin work while still quite young and contribute to the family income,” Bill explained.
“Once upon a time, children were allowed to roam the countryside in safety, on a journey of discovery. But now more than ever, we supervise our children. The Story of Childhood is a fond trip down memory lane, while also challenging visitors to think about the bigger picture; in trying to protect children, have they lost too many freedoms?”
Items on display include a great selection of Victorian toys, which would have only been afforded by the more affluent families, through to a toy Beatles guitar, and much, much more.
“The guitar is a wonderful thing, and one of the items which show how teenagers became an important target market for companies in the 1960s.
“We’ve also been gifted a wonderful Muffin the Mule toy with an accompanying story from its owner – gathering your memories is every bit as important as the toys themselves,” Bill said.
The Museum is appealing for more toys to add to its collection, and is especially seeking good condition objects from the 1980s onwards.
“Generally, we have collected more historical artefacts, and so we have older items, but we have far less from the end of the 1970s onwards. If you have a popular toy from the period, please don’t leave it languishing in the back of a cupboard or in a box in the loft – get in touch through our Facebook page @mkmuseum or email us at email@example.com
“Instead of lying forgotten and gathering dust, it could be the next star of our show!” Bill added.
Milton Keynes Museum is currently open every Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday, 10.30am-4.30pm.
For further information visit miltonkeynesmuseum.org.uk