When I was a child, I didn't really like looking at old building or going on walks or exploring unless we drove there first, I like to think that I've changed. One thing I did enjoy when I was young was museums, especially The Natural History Museum. I do enjoy going to see special exhibitions too, especially when they are free!
The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is free to visit and is very popular with school children, after walking through those doors, I can see why.
What brought me to the museum was an article in Time Out magazine. While at work I read about an exhibition about Jacqueline Wilson's work and childhood that currently on at the museum. I loved her books when I growing, a huge fan, I had many of her books, a couple in hardback too, in fact I still have them. Wilson was my favourite author while growing, apart from Enid Blyton and C.S Lewis, so I was really excited to see an exhibition about the books. I also wanted to use my days off, not just to sleep half the day away and do the laundry.
Easy journey to the museum, which is literally a stones throw away from the tube station. I was excited to be out in the sun, on a day off AND it was free to get it. The 'free' part will always make me happy, always. I had to dash ahead of a rather large group of school children. It reminded me of in Budapest on the Chain bridge, having to outrun the herd. This mini heard were fast and even when I got inside the museum, I was surrounded.
The museum layot reminded me of the Pitts River Museum in Oxford in the way it was set up, except far less cluttered, leaving space to breath. The Jacequline Wilson exhibition was on the second floor and took up almost the whole side. We were allowed to takes photos inside but I snapped the floor just before which was covered in the book covers.
The exhibition started off from Wilson's childhood, with a reconstruction of her bedroom as a child, complete with a bookshelf with all the books she read, as well as all her notebooks with her first written stories. There was a section about her family life, her career and how she decided to become a writer. Specific books were concentrated on, such a Tracy Beaker series which inspired the CBBC TV series. I remember when the TV show first started, I loved it, I used to rush home to see it but after the series drifted away from the book, I lost interest. Another book that focused on was The Illustrated Mum, I had it in hardback, the story about a single mother with many tattoos and her two very different daughters. Apparently Wilson was inspired after seeing a young mother, with many tattoos, in a park in London with two young children. Some of the newer stories were featured, including the stories of Hetty Feather, an orphan left at the Foundling Hospital and how she makes her way through life joining the circus. There was also a section about Nick Sharratt, the illustrator who has worked with Wilson on many books.
After taking my time in the exhibition, I had a look around at all the other exhibits on display, including nearly a whole floor on some amazing dollhouses. There was also a very delicate looking Alice in Wonderland chess set, along with many different tea sets, as well as some children's toys that even I used to play with.
The V&A Museum of Childhood was great place to spend the morning and as its not far to travel too, I might look out for other exhibitions that are on.