Highland Museum of Childhood

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The Old Station Strathpeffer

Highland Museum of Childhood is a museum in the restored railway station in Strathpeffer, Scotland.

History and background[edit]

When it opened in 1992, it became the fourth museum of childhood in Britain.[1]:156 The Museum was based initially on the doll and toy collection of former Strathpeffer resident, Mrs Angela Kellie. It expanded to tell the story of childhood in the Scottish Highlands. It rented space in Strathpeffer's restored Victorian railway station and by 2007 had an average of 8,500 visitors a year.[2] In 2009 a board of trustees purchased the station building from Highland Council.[3]

The museum is independent and fully accredited via Museums Galleries Scotland;[4] it operates as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. It became a registered charity from 1 January 1992.[5]

Collections and Displays[edit]

Fifi and Jane, two Parisienne dolls

The Museum tells the story of childhood in the Highlands of Scotland, using photographic collections, interpretive displays and artefacts. The collections include dolls, toys, games, children’s costumes and childhood furniture. Themes include Birth and Baptism, Homelife, Health and Nutrition, Leisure, Child Labour and Education. There is an award-winning oral-history film, "A Century of Highland Childhood";[6] there are also hands-on activities.

The Museum is home to the Angela Kellie Doll Collection, containing 275 items including a wide range of dolls from the early 1880s.[3] Several important doll manufacturers are represented with 14 items of international significance noted in Scotland’s National Audit[citation needed] including: "Tissie" a wax over papier-mâché doll from 1830 with links to the Highland Clearances; "Fifi" a Parisienne Fashion doll from 1868; "Jane" a Parisienne from 1865.

Other collections include a range of 19th and 20th century board games, puzzles and toys. There is a collection covering primary and secondary school education in the Highlands.

Each year the museum stages an annual exhibition which runs throughout the season. In 2012–2013 an exhibition "Miss Mary Bruce: A life learning and teaching in the Highlands" explored the life of a Ross-shire teacher who had donated items to the museum.[7]


The museum has a focused Learning Programme serving schools and other local groups. In June 2010 the museum completed the construction of a new education space called "The Goods Shed", funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund;[8] The Robertson Trust; Highlands & Islands Enterprise; The EU through the Highland Leader Programme; Community Energy Scotland; Museums Galleries Scotland; The Highland Council; several other Trusts and the museum's own resources. In 2017, refurbishment of the canopy of the building was completed.[9]

It has a coffee shop, shop and craft outlets. There is a car park and picnic area.


  1. ^ Roberts, Sharon (November 2006). "Minor concerns: representations of children and childhood in British museums" (PDF). Museum and Society. 4 (3): 152–165. 
  2. ^ "Museum for a quid". North Star News. 22 March 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "From our August 19 edition". Northern Times. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "Accredited museums in Scotland". Museums Galleries Scotland. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  5. ^ "Charity Details: Highland Museum Of Childhood, SC033930". Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  6. ^ "Travel: Days out: Highland Museum of Childhood". The AA. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  7. ^ Muir, John (18 August 2011). "Miss Mary McIvor Bruce, Croick". Northern Times. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  8. ^ "Highland Museum of Childhood 'The Goods Shed'". www.nationallotteryawards.org.uk. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "Strathpeffer revamp has it covered as canopy scheme gives venue a lift". Ross-shire Journal. 27 January 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 

Coordinates: 57°35′24″N 4°32′4″W / 57.59000°N 4.53444°W / 57.59000; -4.53444