The Ark welcomes the Victoria & Albert museum of childhood with Game Plan: Board Games Rediscovered

Are you a Snakes and Ladders Superstar? A Chess Champion? A Monopoly Master? Throw the dice and enter a colourful and creative world of board games at The Ark this April, May and June.

Celebrating the joy, excitement (and occasional frustration) of playing board games, this free exhibition includes some of the most iconic, enthralling and visually striking games from the V&A Museum of Childhood’s outstanding collections. Exploring games from around the world and the important role of design on display, in the exhibition are current family favourites such as Cluedo and Trivial Pursuit, as well as traditional games like chess. The V&A Museum of Childhood holds the national collection of board games from the last 500 years. Game Plan presents some of their most iconic, enthralling and visually striking games.

This exhibition invites you to explore the history, design and stories of the lesser known games of the past, as well as the much loved family favourites that still appeal today.

Alongside this wonderful exhibition, will run a series of workshops commissioned by The Ark to explore and celebrate the theme of board games. You could Make Your Own X’s and O’s!, Create your own clay game pieces: with ceramicist Maeve Sookram, upstyle your game pieces in a Game Changer Jewellery workshop with designer Cassie McCann, Design a Board Game with award winning game designer and developer Brenda Romero, take part in a 4-Day Young Inventors Camp and more.

Director of The Ark Aideen Howard said,"We are delighted to welcome the legendary V&A back to The Ark with Game Plan, following the astonishing success of Teddy Bears in 2014. Taken from the V&A's extraordinary collection, the exhibition will be source of joy to young and old alike. And although the exhibition itself is largely analog, The Ark's Game Plan programme is packed with gaming as well as traditional games giving children an insight into design thinking and technology.”

Free exhibition runs from 13 Apr - 23 Jun 2019. It is designed for ages 4+
The exhibition will also look at historical board games and beautifully designed games from the 18th and 19th centuries. Selected games are highlighted with a more detailed look at their history and influence. An early design of Monopoly before it was commercially mass produced will be one of the many fascinating exhibits on show. While you’re here, drop into our Games Den for some relaxed gaming together with your friends or family.

  • Workshop: Make Your Own X’s and O’s!
    Sat 20 & 27 April @ 11am and 2pm. Age: 5-7
    Working with ceramicist Maeve Sookram, you will invent your own clay game pieces and make a unique game board using mixed media. This fun filled workshop is for every child who likes to work with clay and loves board games. The workshop will finish by playing a few games on our newly created game boards where you can put your artwork to the test!
  • Young Inventors Camp
    Tues 23-Fri 26 April @ 10am-3pm each day. Age: 9-12
    From analogue to digital - explore the evolution of physical games with Make Create Innovate in this four day camp for Ages 9-12. Over four days, you will create your own unique toys and interactive game prototypes. From idea generation and design, to construction and play testing, you will get a chance to build basic robots using motors and use MaKey MaKey kits and Scratch block coding to create interactive games. As a group, you will also design future play spaces and test out each other’s new games. In between, there will be lots of old and new games for you to try.
  • Workshop: Game Changer Jewellery
    Sat 4 May @ 11.30am & 2pm. Age: 8-12
    Work with jewellery designer Cassie McCann to transform old games pieces into striking wearable art. Make unique pieces of jewellery and accessories up-cycling the game pieces into your very own designs.

Join award winning game designer and developer Brenda Romero and design your very own board game in this fun workshop where Brenda will share her knowledge of game design, showing you the structure on which all games are developed.

  • Family Talk: So you want to be a Game Designer?
    Free Mon 6 May @ 2pm. Ages: 6+
    Award-winning game designer and developer Brenda Romero has been inventing games since she was a child, landing her first job in game design at the age of 15. In this talk Brenda will tell her inspirational story of how she discovered her love of board games and how they have shaped her entire life.

About the V&A Museum of Childhood

The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is part of the V&A family of sites and the UK’s National Museum of Childhood. It is the largest institution of its kind in the world and holds in trust the nation’s childhood collections, with a unique story to tell as East London’s first museum. In October 2018, the museum announced plans for a transformative redevelopment project that will enable the much-loved institution to become a world-leading museum of design and creativity for children, families and young people. This new vision and purpose will address a growing deficit in design education, crisis in play and highlight the essential role that creativity plays in developing skills needed for the future.