Museums with Games and other Public / Private Collections of Games


For those interested in games, there are a multitude of collections, both official and private all over the world. Our list of game collections is not exhaustive - if you know of more collections, libraries or museums featuring a significant games element, please let us know.

National Museum Local Museum Library Company Owned Private Collection Other All


NameDescriptionMain WebsiteOther WebsiteExamples in GARD
AyresA private collection of Ayres games collected by a member of the Ayres family2 Examples
Brian Love CollectionAn important selection of Chad Valley board games from this collection was exhibited at Museum of Childhood, Bethnall Green, from 16 Dec 1980 to 1 March 1981. Many are illustrated in the two books by Brian Love, Great Board Games and Play the Game Current whereabouts unknown but it is reported that the company’s archive collection, which Brian Love had access to for his publications, was cleared out when the company changed hands.
Clulow CollectionAn important collection of card games from the collection of George Clulow, F.R.G.S., is listed in A History of Playing Cards by Catherine Hargrave, 1930, Dover Edition 1966. Held by the USPCC.20 Examples
Spears Games ArchiveAn important archive of mainly British items made by the Spear Company (see Maker Spear). When Francis Spear left the company in 1986 the examples of former products were moved to a specially adapted outbuilding at his home and made available for public view by appointment. The mostly American members of AGPC (now Association for Games and Puzzles International) held their annual convention in London in 2005, and a visit to the Archive was included as well as a visit to view the Ballam collection. Subsequently Francis welcomed a visit from members of our group. The collection of old catalogues (Trade Lists) is particularly interesting, and Francis kindly donated a copy of the earliest c1903 to the Ballam collection. We have no recent information of the whereabouts of the Archive or of arrangements to view.
The Ballam CollectionRichard Ballam's collection of mainly British manufactured games toys and puzzles. Noteable for games 1750-1950, but not attemping to be comprehensive for “linen back” games (for better information see the Website or card games. It includes related items which are not games, particularly an important collection of Dissected Puzzles (jigsaw type) by the game makers and a similar collection of educational toys and children’s books of the same period. Most of the printed items from the collections have been added to the John Johnson collection of ephemera at the Bodleian and are being added to the catalogue there, where they are accessible and are being used by the University History Faculty.2227 Examples
The Hannas CollectionLinda Hannas amassed a huge collection of early games in addition to her collection of jigsaw puzzles. On 26/27 July 1984 most were sold at Sotheby’s, Bloomfield Place, London, and the sale catalogue gives good information.64 Examples
The Opie CollectionSee Treasures of Childhood by Iona and Robert Opie and Brian Alderson. The Opies' important collection of childrens' books was transferred to the Bodleian Library but their collection of games was not included in the transfer.4 Examples
The Whitehouse CollectionWe have not discovered the present location of the late Col. Whitehouse's collection of Board and Table Games, but in his book "Table Games of Georgian and Victorian Days", Peter Garnett Ltd 1951, later edition Priory Press 1971, information is given of all the games of the period 1750-1850 he was able to locate. We will be treating those he was able to locate as Examples for our database and will add those we do not have a record of.1 Examples