Museums

Museum of Childhood Claremont

Where is it at?

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Museum of Childhood
Edith Cowan University
Bay Road
Claremont
WA
6010
Tel: 8 9212 3700

Directions

It's within the campus.

Where are we going today?

This nationally significant collection of 24,000 items is reflective of Western Australian childhood in all its diversity. It contains toys and games of children’s play, child rearing and schooling items, costume, books and items that are reflective of home life in Western Australia.

The collection is representative of children’s lives through different periods, environments, socio-economic circumstances and culturally diverse backgrounds. It contains several collections that are immensely significant in their own right, most notably the Riley Family Collection. This near complete collection of 150 toys belonged to the six children (b.1887 to 97) of Perth’s first Anglican Archbishop, the Rev C O Riley. It is one of the most complete holdings of a single family collection of toys in Australia and is of national significance.

The ECU Museum of Childhood Collection is also noted for its diverse range of improvised items: toys, clothes, school equipment and other childhood items home-made due to economic hardship, isolation, wartime austerity and emergency or for pleasure.

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How much does it cost?

  • AdultsDonations suggested.
LAST UPDATED 2013

When can we go?

Daily opening, with seasonal variations, check site for information.

Any Top Tips?

Remind the kids they can't play with everything, though there are some interactive elements, so this may be confusing and attention must be paid!.

What people are saying?

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    Its OK. It was warm inside. Overall we were underwhelmed. There is no logical route to flow through you just meander around through the maze of, far too few, often topic-muddled display cases. The lift and stairs do not function in concert being in perfect locations to ruin an easy-flow path around. Half the upper gallery was inconveniently shut, with some strange construction work in progress . . . so they DO have the financial backing.
    Where have all the wonderful items gone from the museum's former venue? A lot seem to be missing. Previously...Read More

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    This well located museum with free entry and was bustling with families on the weekend. There were a number of good exhibits on at the moment i.e. Toy Story and there are lots of toys from different periods and cultures. A great way to spend an afternoon.

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    The museum itself is magnificent, not so if you wish to ask a question. I was, for two hours or thereabouts on a telephone loop, when I wanted an answer to a perfectly
    feasible question. I emailed to no avail. I wanted the answer to my question at the
    latest, today, and so far, I am obviously of no import, despite having a membership
    which cost my daughter somewhere in the region of £100. The members eating room
    is poor, the service is very good, but it has no choice. My advice to anyone
    don't join and waste your money

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    A fabulous museum, A trip to gaze al the toys from childhood memories and loads of free activities for all ages. So engaging for children and adults in a beautiful building and all free. Set out early loads to see

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    I came here as a child and it seemed like this museum was endless. I was still grappling with the concept that people had been children years before I had at that time. I came back quite recently after a lazy brunch, and although it seemed a lot smaller I really took time to appreciate the Victorian splendour of the building. The collection was fascinating, particularly as toys now seem less and less relevant in a world where we have so much technology. I hope this museum is here to stay.

Submit a review

by R Wright

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Its OK. It was warm inside. Overall we were underwhelmed. There is no logical route to flow through you just meander around through the maze of, far too few, often topic-muddled display cases. The lift and stairs do not function in concert being in perfect locations to ruin an easy-flow path around. Half the upper gallery was inconveniently shut, with some strange construction work in progress . . . so they DO have the financial backing.
Where have all the wonderful items gone from the museum's former venue? A lot seem to be missing. Previously the museum was brilliant, intimate, and packed-to-bursting, now the venue is ample with the contents rattling in the space. That said, there are 1000s of interesting items on display, they just need many 1000s more. Lighting was generally very poor, bordering on none at times, for the exhibits but abundant for the centrally-located restaurant and shop!
Whilst some categories of 'toys' were well represented other categories were extremely ill-represented or nothing. They have a good base to build on and there is MUCH to improve.
Unsurprisingly adults bring their children of all ages which leaves the museum in difficulty catering for all ages particularly tiny tots. As its fee they run the risk of becoming a local pop-in 'play-centre' with cafe/restaurant immediately to hand; a difficult balance to achieve.
Great credit to V&A in keeping it free as an admission fee would have made it a very poor deal.
In places it became an annex to the Science museum with CCTV system to try (not-working), and a rotating gravity-dependent machine, which you can operate . . . but absolutely nothing to do with childhood! Roger

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