With over eight million artifacts in its collection, the globally revered UK institution is looking to bring a unique offering of traditional and educational lines to the licensed toy space through new partners.

Educational toys is next frontier of discovery for British Museum

The British Museum is looking to shake up the educational toy sector when it launches into the market with its first range of licensed products.

Home to over eight million artifacts from across the globe, the institution has detailed its plans to occupy a unique space in the toy and educational toy market with products inspired by its various collections.

In what it believes to be the ideal fit for the toy space, the British Museum is currently looking to partner with toy firms to help develop new and innovative lines that reflect the museum’s core ethos of learning and discovery, all while enhancing play patterns for children.

With ambitious plans for the market, both the Museum and its licensing agent, TSBA Group, believes that with the right partners, it can become a big name in both the toy and educational toy space.

“The British Museum is ideal for the toy and educational toy market,” Craig Bendle, manager of merchandise licensing at the British Museum, told ToyNews exclusively.

“It’s the global centre of learning and the museum of the world, and with over eight million objects in its collection, there’s a lot to draw inspiration from.”

With over 6.5 million visitors a year, the British Museum prides itself as one of the UK’s best loved attractions, and with a core emphasis on discovery, believes it offers the ideal gateway for kids to enjoy and engage with learning.

“Children walk through our doors in their thousands everyday They walk around the museum and you can hear their ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’, whether it’s looking at a full Samurai armour piece or a Gladiator’s helmet,” continued Bendle.

“Getting such a reaction is so amazing, wouldn’t it be great to capture that in a toy? Through us, kids will be able to connect to history through play. We are very ambitious with this programme and we are looking to build a long term, sustainable portfolio of toys."

While Bendle has remained tight-lipped over exactly what toy categories are being targeted, he has insisted that innovation will be at the core.

“We are about bringing objects, adventure and the British Museum itself into the toy market,” said Bendle.

“This will be innovative of itself and will occupy a very unique space in that educational market.”

Bendle’s next move is to secure toy partners that embrace and reflect the values of the museum. In doing so, the firm has declared that it won’t necessarily be looking towards the big name players in the sector.

“The British Museum is obviously a large institution, but the programme isn’t all about engaging with the larger toy and education partners,” explained Bendle.

“It’s about being open to working with niche players, as it’s often in the niche players that you get some of the most exciting ideas.

“We have new things to offer and a lot of opportunities for toys within that.

“I would like to think there are various toy firms out there who will be getting excited about a potential partnership too.”

The British Museum’s move into the toy arena was sparked by the success it has seen over recent years when developing licensed lines with galleries and museums hosting exhibitions across the globe.

“These have been very successful partnerships for us and the galleries involved,” said Bendle.

“We saw opportunity to engage with licensing as it’s a wonderful way of reaching out and making people aware of us.”

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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