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

26 Oct 18

Unusual visitors

A tremendous month of celebrations and events, starting with a celebration of Black History Month with Museumand and our ‘Have Your Say Saturday’. The day began with a packed gallery and then moved down to Sudbury’s Parish Rooms for a series of thought provoking and inspirational talks. Catherine Ross of Museumand opened the session with an engaging talk sharing tales of work on the exhibition. Dr Sheine Peart of Nottingham Trent University followed with an exploration of perceptions of childhood and self-identity. Sian Jones of Queen Margaret University and Jeff Bowersox of University College London then spoke about representation within toys and related academic research. The day was finished off with an inspiring talk from Saffron Jackson-Kerr, the creator of the Jamaican Patwa speaking Zuree dolls. We’re thrilled to announce that due to its popularity, ‘Black Dolls: The Power of Representation’ has been extended to 6 January 2019. For our second event, the sound of sonic screwdrivers filled the museum as we fearlessly celebrated the arrival of the Dalek. We were joined by the 15th Cyberlegion and Staffordshire Tardis, who scared and delighted our visitors with a range of characters from the Doctor Who series. Representatives from our locally based fan group, the Whoovers, also came along and shared their knowledge of Daleks through the decades. There was definitely a real buzz around the property, with many visitors spending their whole day with us. Take a look at #SudburyDalek on twitter to see more photos of the day.

Members of the 15th Cyberlegion in costume outside Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire

27 Sep 18

Safety first

We are proud to announce that we now have our Hogwarts letters, from the first film in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, on display! We have added them to our newly created display of television and film. Joining them on display are our Wonka bars from the 2005 Tim Burton remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Seeing them together with film and television merchandise from our collections, such as our 1977 Princess Leia doll and 1980s Thundercats lunchbox, it really is apparent that children loved watching both the big and small screen. We are going to continue exploring the impact of television and film on childhoods throughout the remaining two years of the project. Alongside the new displays this month we have focused our collecting on a new area for our collection. In our early stages of research it was highlighted that we lacked items that represented the expansion of safety campaigns in the 20th century. To begin with, we have collected a group of objects which represent road safety. From the 1950s onwards, an effort was made to educate children about the dangers of roads and traffic. National campaigns such as the ‘Tufty Club’ and the ‘Green Cross Code’ were supported by local authority efforts, to reduce injury and death on the roads. Both major campaigns were led by public information films, and books, badges, games and songs were made alongside as the campaigns developed. Collecting objects related to safety campaigns will allow us to explore the changing attitudes to care of children, alongside the major changes in society which had an impact on the day to day lives of children. Our next focus will be ‘Stranger Danger’.

Props from the Harry Potter films at the National Trust Museum of Childhood

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