Yeah, it’s easy to romanticize the past, but there’s something almost sweet about Confiscation Cabinets, an exhibition at the V&A’s Museum of Childhood showing 30 years’ worth of contraband swiped from kids at over 150 schools in London.
Teacher and artist Guy Tarrant collected a lot of the ephemera himself, with the rest donated for the project by fellow educators across the city.
The variety is impressive — folded, hand-written fortune-tellers, Dr. Who trading cards, plastic Stormtroopers, tennis balls, way-outdated electronics — with the majority of this stuff riding right on the razor thin line between total junk and absolute treasure.
Then some of it is, unsurprisingly, less playful and more worrisome: a bottle of bourbon, homemade axes and slingshots, found bullets, and a freakin’ lit fire bomb (!) were all sourced directly from students.
All of the specimens are labelled with a year (or decade), showing an evolution of cultural and adolescent interests as we’ve edged into a more modern age. Taken together, they exist as a testament to the innate skill that kids of any era have to turn pretty much anything into a distraction, nuisance, or major annoyance. Wouldn’t it be nice if creepy crawlies were the worst of what’s being brought into schools today? [Golem13]