Personalisation and Playlore
Children are everywhere; we all are or have been children, and some of us have children of our own. So why are they largely invisible in so many aspects of cultural heritage? This article examines the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of children and childhood in Western cultures, a specific aspect of ICH relating to the youngest in society. It asks what we mean by “child” and what might be their intangible heritage, considering aspects such as oral traditions, social rituals, folklore, playlore, and children’s skills in crafting their own toys. It provides an overview of the literature relating to ICH and childhood in museums, arguing both for greater recognition of children’s intangible heritage and for the value of incorporating it into exhibitions, considering some examples of where this has been done. While examination of the archaeology, history, and material culture of children is growing, there has been limited consideration of how intangible cultural heritage might be developed in the museum context with regard to presenting childhood, something this article aims to address.