This rather famous toy museum is a branch of the Victoria & Albert Museum. The purpose-built museum building was originally on the V&A's site in South Kensington, but when the main building was extended in 1872 the building was dismantled and reassembled in the East End.
Originally intended to be a local museum, it soon became an overspill for the V&A's main collection. In the 20th century its collection had an increasing number of items related to childhood and in 1974 Bethnal Green became a toy museum.
Bethnal Green's collection includes toys, teddy bears, dolls, puppets, model trains, toy soldiers, games, costumes and nursery furniture. There are also over 40 dolls houses, some donated by royalty.
All exhibits are well displayed making the museum great fun for all. There is plenty for children including an activity corner, a model railway, a rocking horse that can be ridden and a dressing up box to be rummaged through.
Although Bethnal Green primarily a toy museum there are exhibits illustrating the social history of childhood. These galleries detail the history of childcare and child development through the ages, with exhibits ranging from childbirth in the 17th century to teenage rebellion of the 1960's and 1970's. One section follows children's formal costume through the ages, from a delightful 17th century christening gown onwards..
The museum also has temporary exhibitions and activities for children in the school holidays.