Buzz Lightyear leads ‘retro favourites’ in launch of revamped museum

Buzz Lightyear is one of toys aiming to take the revamped Museum of Childhood to infinity and beyond.
Buzz Lightyear is one of toys aiming to take the revamped Museum of Childhood to infinity and beyond.

Its star attractions in years past included a penny-a-go mechanical “execution”, in which a miniature condemned man was beheaded in one short, grisly tableau.

Now Edinburgh’s much-loved Museum of Childhood is gearing up to reopen with a star cast of altogether more wholesome retro toys - led by a Buzz Lightyear action figure from 2000.

It’s arguably a shock to find that the kids who loved this character when it was first issued are now in their teens - but that’s probably the whole point of the museum’s own ever-developing toy story.

The Royal Mile venue has been shut for a major revamp, and reopens on March 3 after a five month absence with dozens of rarely seen objects relating to childhood life.

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, said: “With over 225,000 visitors every year, the Museum is one of Edinburgh’s flagship venues. I

“Its impressive collection of more than 60,000 objects reflecting childhoods from the 18th century to the present day has been recognised as of National Importance by the Scottish Government, which has generously funded much of the refit through Museums Galleries Scotland grants”.

Gillian Findlay, Curatorial and Engagement Manager for Museums & Galleries Edinburgh, said: “Staff, volunteers, students and supporters have dedicated time, resources and funding to transform this space into a gallery which is fun and fit for families to enjoy in 2018.

“We are so grateful to them all and thrilled that the works have gone to schedule - but we won’t be resting on our laurels!

“We will be actively collecting feedback from visitors about the new space, and this information will help us shape our plans.

“This is the start of change at the Museum on Childhood - not the end - but a very important milestone in our journey to present this hugely important collection to more visitors, in a range of exciting and enjoyable ways.”

Opened in 1955 as the world’s first museum dedicated to the history of childhood, the star attraction relocated to its current position on the Royal Mile to accommodate the growing collection, and in 1986 the Museum expanded again into adjacent buildings.

The refurbishment will see new cases, floors and lights installed and objects displayed as the ground floor is opened into an interactive space, with dedicated zones focusing on memories of life at home, in school and at play.

An area for film and a digital photo album will also be launched, focusing on how children have grown up over the decades.