If you enjoy a good board game, then the exhibition Game Plan at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood in London is definitely something you might want to go and see. With pieces ageing back to 1550 BC this is an incredible library of the history of play.
The exhibit sets out to explore games as a cultural legacy, and as something that has always brought people together no matter age or background.
The exhibition itself is neatly planed out in a sequence of colourful, slightly dimmed rooms corresponding to individual time periods, with plenty of opportunity to play some of the games yourself. Chronologically, you will first encounter ancient games from Egypt, then see beautifully illustrated pieces from the European renaissance, and finally end up with examples of the vast board game industry today. The exhibition does a good job at taking you down the path of time.
One drawback to mention is, however, the noice. As the museum itself is an older building mostly consisting of one large, open space, the echoing sounds of the many children throughout the other exhibitions can get quite intense. It is a curious choice to place an exhibition that is so reading-heavy in a museum which is strongly catered to very young children, especially since most of these children pay no attention to a non-interactive exhibition.
If you played games as a child, you will without a doubt find some of your old favourites displayed. The exhibition contains absolutely stunning pieces which guarantees nostalgia at some point or another.
With extensive information and countless game samples all the way throughout history, the exhibition definitely manages to get it’s point across. Seeing the origins of games we know from modern life is very rewarding, and as a result any adult will find something they enjoy in this exhibition.
Game Plan, Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, October 8th, 2016 – April 23rd, 2017. Available at: http://www.vam.ac.uk/moc/exhibitions/gameplan/
All taken by me at the Game Plan exhibition, November 2016.
Hasbro (1935) Monopoly [board game] Hasbro.
Toy Play (2008) Sonic the Hedgehog 3D chess [board game] Toy Play.