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The V&A Museum of Childhood has revealed its stunning new look

Written by
Rosemary Waugh

London’s V&A Museum of Childhood has announced plans for a major makeover. The Bethnal Green landmark will reopen in 2022 with a radically reimagined interior by AOC Architecture, including three new galleries and a re-configured central space. Colourful, playful and filled with natural light, the £13million refurb has the needs of little ones at its heart: the new displays and interactive exhibits are all being designed according to how children aged 0-14 years learn best.

The museum closes on May 11 2020. To mark the start of its new phase of life, three-day free festival RE-INVENT will be on across the May bank holiday. Visitors will be able to explore specially commissioned art installations, live music and drop-in events. The museum is also partnering with Ideas Store Whitechapel and local schools to hold events and activities during its two-year closure.

The shiny new space features three galleries: ‘Imagine’, ‘Play’ and ‘Design’. ‘Imagine’ is an ‘Alice in Wonderland’-inspired display bringing together the most famous characters from myths, legends and storybooks – from the Loch Ness Monster to Paddington Bear. It will also include the itsy-bitsy National Collection of Dolls’ Houses.

'The Stage' area of redesigned V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green
Photograph courtesy of V&A Museum of Childhood

In ‘Play’, children and their families will make their own fun with interactive exhibits showcasing the weird and wonderful world of games, whether that’s soft play, chess, or the crowd-funded ‘Exploding Kittens’. 

‘Design’ will offer children an introduction to the contemporary design geniuses of today, including Olafur Eliasson and a changing roster of artists-in-residents who will work with visiting schoolkids. 

Finally, in the centre of the museum will be a brand new ‘Town Square’ space, plus a 125-capacity performance space where children can watch performances and stage their own. 

A few of the items scheduled to go on display include Beatrix Potter illustrations, the original Superman costume and a life-sized puppet of Joey from West End hit ‘War Horse’. Yes, it’s all aimed at children – but we might well pop in for a visit too.

For more info on the V&A Museum of Childhood and its future plans, click here

Find more great museums to visit with our guide to the best exhibitions on in London now

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