Playtime reigns supreme at the new-look V&A Museum of Childhood, as the London institution announces a colourful £13m ($17m) revamp.

Rendering of a children's museum with brightly-coloured displays
Architects AOC rendering of the new V&A Museum of Childhood  ©AOC

The east London institution is set to close for two years on 11 May 2020, to facilitate a major revamp. According to the museum, the new-look venue will "nurture the next generation of artists, designers, makers and innovators," with more space and exhibits devoted to play, storytelling and design.

It's the most ambitious redevelopment in the V&A Museum of Childhood’s history. London-based architects AOC have been brought in to transform the Grade II-listed space into something bigger and brighter than before. Through a series of workshops and events, architects collaborated with children, families, teachers, curators and staff to get a better sense of what museum-goers aged 0-14 want in terms of design, collections and content.

Paddington_Bear_made_in_England_by_Gabrielle_Designs_1980 (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London.jpg
Paddington Bear (c)Victoria and Albert Museum, London

As a result, three new galleries will focus on a different area of creativity. Play will feature games both old and new with spaces to encourage free play . Imagine will focus on storytelling and screenwriting with Hollywood props like the Superman costume worn by Christopher Reeve, Mary Poppins' magic umbrella on display, alongside famous book and comic characters like Paddington Bear and Pikachu.

Architectural rendering of a design exhibit in children's museum
Three new galleries will be included in the new space (c)AOC

While Design will encourage young minds to think outside the box with an artist-in-residence programme (the Designer’s House), as well as a "model town" of miniature worlds, such as  the museum’s collection of dolls’ houses and a Star Wars spaceship. There's also a 125-seat theatre space for children to put on their own shows.

A young girl writes on a Post-it inside a museum
Children lent their voices to design proposals  ©AOC

The V&A Museum of Childhood will close on 11 May 2020 and reopen in 2022. Before it closes, a three-day free RE-Invent’ festival will be held over the May bank holiday (8-10 May) featuring live performances, a specially commissioned artist installation and drop-in events.

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