About Childhood Museum Childhood Museum Map Childhood Museum Map

In the European Middle Ages, childhood ended at the age of ten, and by the age of thirteen, girls were ready for marriage. In other parts of the world, boys from ruling families were able to take responsibility for the fate of an entire nation not long after they had finished playing with toys. And so, in different cultures and ages, childhood has been perceived and defined differently, proving to be a concept with shifting boundaries and meanings.

The idea for our project arose from the desire to place in a European context the manifestation of these differences and at the same time to mark their perception and the attitudes they have generated. In order to do so, we set out to cover the following stages: locating and examining private collections of objects, using an anthropological approach; organising oral memory workshops for children and the elderly; organising a travelling keynote exhibition in Europe; and getting volunteers involved in all the stages of the project.

The biggest challenge was to create an all-inclusive museum of childhood, albeit one that is virtual, if we take into account the fact that most European institutions with a similar profile concentrate only on carefully circumscribed chapters of the subject, such as toys and games, household objects, etc. We researched highly different topics, such as the naming of children, schooling, holidays, oral texts aimed at children and created by them, illnesses and cures, food and clothing, traditional games and toys, and contemporary debates on all of these.

The project unfolded over the course of two years (from May 2011 to April 2013) with the support of the European Union’s Culture Programme. Main organiser: the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant; co-organisers: the Romanian Cultural Institute, Association pour le Promotion de l’Éducation des Enfants (Paris, France), and the Museum of Lębork (Poland); partner: the Romanian Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.