Exploring Childhoods Project

Family admiring the museum collection in the home gallery, Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire

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

01 Mar 18

Our new project gallery is now fully up and running!

We’ve had a wonderful response from our Christmas-time and half-term visitors taking part in the ‘write a label’ activity. The most popular item to make comment on was, by far, the Lego! There were also some particularly enjoyable comments relating to the Treehouse, SNES and Frustration game. Some of the best have been added to the displays and we hope that this will encourage even more visitors to have a go this season. This January we met again with Catherine and Lynda from MuseumAnd/The National Caribbean Heritage Museum, who are very interested in interpreting our collection of black dolls. We’ve asked them to research and produce an exhibition for the project gallery this summer. The work they’ll carry out will also help us to interpret the permanent displays in the other galleries. It’s an exciting opportunity for us and we’re very much looking forward to working with them. We’ve also been busy working on some more purchases for the museum’s collections. New, and curiously interesting, objects include a George III silver nipple shield and a rocking chair commode. We’ve got a few more in the pipeline and will keep adding them to the open storage area and project gallery as they arrive.

We've had so many messages about how you all love LEGO!

24 Nov 17

A 1980s favourite

We’ve been looking for a BMX to add to the collections for a while now and this month we’ve finally found the one we want! This Raleigh Burner BMX, in yellow and blue, was suggested by one of the parents of our ‘mini curators’ back in June. Made in the mid 1980s it's an item I'm sure many of you will remember! We’ve also managed to purchase a full matching racing suit, and hope to get hold of a suitable number for the front of the bike (essential for racing!) and a full face helmet. It needs a bit of conservation work to get the loose mud off, and then we’ll get it out on display. We’re also working hard on a new project gallery, to be opened in December. It will be a showcase for objects as they come in, and will have ‘open storage’ so you can see some of what goes on behind the scenes.

Raleigh burner bicycle

10 Oct 17

We’ve been busy collecting!

Although we’ve had the busy rush of summer, we’ve managed to get going on purchasing some more exciting objects for the collection. Purchases have included lots of objects from 1968, which is the year that the National Trust took over Sudbury Hall. We’ve now got an original Kerplunk game, complete with box of marbles, and a beautiful Corgi Magic Roundabout Carousel, which when wound, plays the show’s evocative theme tune. We’re also really happy to be able to add a vintage Ken doll, from 1962, to our collection of Barbie and Ken dolls. This doll was the second version of Barbie’s boyfriend that Mattel produced, the earlier 1961 version featured flock hair and was speedily replaced as Ken lost his hair far too quickly! We’re now working hard putting together a fresh gallery for the growing collection of new objects. Watch this space; it will be open before Christmas.

Ken doll