The mission of the museum is "To enable everyone, especially the young, to explore and enjoy the designed world, in particular objects made for and made by children." It has extensive collections of toys, childhood equipment and costumes, and stages a programme of temporary exhibitions.
Inside the museum is a cast iron statue by John Bell (1811–1896). It came originally from the Great Exhibition of 1851. "The Eagle slayer" shows a marksman shooting at an eagle which has slain the lamb that lies at his feet.