Exploring Childhoods Project

Ken doll

With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) we can now expand our collections to better represent late twentieth and early twenty-first century childhoods.

In the next five years we’ll be working with local community groups and schools, as well as developing new volunteer opportunities, to help us make important decisions on which objects represent childhoods from this era in the best way possible.

We’ll have a new community panel advising us on all stages of the project and a new outreach programme to take our collections beyond the museum walls. Volunteers will also have the chance to get involved in research and other new roles that have been created.

We hope to create solid partnerships and stronger collections. The museum will keep evolving through this exciting journey and as we receive new objects for the collection they'll go on display for everyone to enjoy. Watch out for new exhibtions too.

We’re really looking forward to seeing the changes!

Latest posts

30 Aug 18

The impact of television

What an exciting month full of preparation for the arrival of our new addition to the Museum. And here it is… Our Dalek! Very specifically, it is a Drone Dalek (No.4), used in the Doctor Who (revived) series 1 finale episodes, Bad Wolf and The Parting of The Ways. Acquired to explore the impact of television on childhood in the 20th century, this iconic object is a fantastic addition to our collection made possible with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. It was wonderful to hear the excitement from visitors who managed to be there during the Dalek’s journey into the property. Children, adults, and even dogs were over the moon to be able to have a picture with the new arrival. One visitor commented that he was ‘pleased that the National Trust is able to save the Dalek for future generations’. We’re looking forward to seeing how our visitors react when it goes on display in September! We’ll be asking our visitors: Did you stay in and watch television rather than going outside to play? Did the Daleks scare you? Did you hide behind your sofa? Are you pleased to see the first female Doctor? We’ll also be sharing how proud we are to be able to conserve and care for this important object for ever, for everyone.

The Dalek at Sudbury Hall side hall entrance

17 Jul 18

Time for tea

This month we held our ‘Family Day and Tea Party’ on the 21 July in celebration of the exhibition ‘Black Dolls: The Power of Representation’. A coach came with members of the Caribbean community from Nottingham to enjoy the first Saturday of the summer with us. Toys and tea sets in the stable yard encouraged visitors to partake in a ‘toys tea party’. Craft sessions were provided by Playworks and storytelling was provided by members of the community. Visitors also spent time enjoying a picnic the grounds, with drinks and scones from our fabulous tea rooms! We have received some wonderful feedback from the exhibition. It’s been a delight to read through the comments and hear what people have to say! We’ve also had some charming and beautifully drawn portraits, created by all generations. It’s evident that our visitors do appreciate the opportunity to participate in creative activities. Two personal favourites are a very characterful picture of 'My Grandad, by himself!’ and a colourful self-portrait by a very smiley visitor in a butterfly dress.

Self portrait drawn by a visitor

17 Jun 18

A new exhibition and a trip to the movies

Celebrations all round this month! A few major events for the project have happened this June. In collaboration with Museumand: The National Caribbean Heritage Museum, we held a formal launch event for the ‘Black Dolls: The Power of Representation’ exhibition, inviting members of the Caribbean community to come to view the displays and listen to a thought provoking talk by Dr. Sheine Peart from Nottingham Trent University. The press has taken a keen interest in the gallery and we have been featured on ITV Central News, the BBC News website and on Devon Daley’s Radio Derby show. Our next celebration in honour of the addition of (drumroll please…) three Harry Potter letter film props to the collection! If you’ve watched the first film in the Harry Potter series, or read the book, you’ll remember the scene where the letters inviting him to attend Hogwarts arrive in bulk, addressed to ‘The Cupboard under the Stairs’. In fact, there were quite a limited number of these letters made and kept after the film. So much so, that the film company itself only now has two of them. This means, as we acquired three, that we have more in our collections! The public are already engaging with the ‘letters’ via social media, with one comment saying “Such a core element of my childhood. Played such a huge part in my life!” This isn’t all! Not only did we acquire the letters, but also two Wonka bar film props from the 2005 Charlie and Chocolate Factory film. It’s lucky, at least for long-term conservation, that both bars (Nutty Crunch Surprise and Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight) don’t actually contain any real chocolate!

Film prop Wonka bars