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

History and background
The Highland Museum of Childhood is located in Strathpeffer’s restored Victorian Station, built by the Highland Railway in 1885 to bring visitors to the Spa village of Strathpeffer. In the village’s heyday as a Spa resort there was a weekly express from London, however changes brought about by two world wars and the rising popularity of the motor car contributed to the closure of the station in 1951. The Museum was based initially on the doll and toy collection of former Strathpeffer resident, Mrs Angela Kellie. It is now a museum of local, regional and national significance, telling the story of Childhood in the Highlands through photographic collections, interpretive displays, original illustrative material and artefacts. The collections include not only dolls, toys and games, but also children’s costume and childhood furniture. Since 2009 the museum has begun to collect local and family history. Displays are upgraded and changed annually and research is regularly undertaken.

Collections and Displays
The Museum tells the story of childhood in the Highlands of Scotland, recording customs and traditions amongst crofters and townsfolk. 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”; there are also hands-on activities. The Museum is home to the comprehensive Angela Kellie Doll Collection. The collection comprises a wide range of dolls from the early 1880s; almost every type is represented, for example, wooden, composition, parian, bisque, wax, cloth, fashion, folk, automata, character and baby dolls. Several important doll manufacturers are represented with 14 items of international significance noted in Scotland’s National Audit 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, and many more. Each year the museum stages an annual exhibition which runs throughout the season. For 2010-2011 this exhibition explores the customs and folklore of Scottish Weddings: "Tying the Knot: Scottish Wedding Customs."

Staffing and governance
The museum is independent and fully registered with the MLA (Museums Libraries & Archives Council); it operates as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. The museum’s Trustees and Directors are drawn from the local community as are the Volunteer staff and Friends of the Museum. Paid staff consists of the curator/manager in post since 1997. To help develop the museum's Learning & Access programme during 2010-2011 a freelance part-time officer has been recruited. Young people work weekends in the season.

Learning and Outreach Programme
The museum has a focused Learning Programme serving schools and other learning groups in the Highland area. The museum and its site have a strong local community focus. Its coffee shop, shop and craft outlets at the site are popular with local people, and it plays a key part in locally-run events in Strathpeffer such as Victorian Week and appropriately themed regional and national initiatives. In June 2010 the museum completed the construction of "The Goods Shed" a new building to provide more education space for its Learning & Access programme, an office/reference room and a purpose-built Collections Store. This extension was funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund; 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.

The museum, located in an old Victorian Station, has a car park, a picnic area, and an attractive garden location. The museum is open 1 April - 31 October, Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Suns 2pm-5pm. The museum is open by appointment from November - March. There is a coffee shop and gift shop.


2 photos