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HISTORY, MYSTERY & MAGIC: The Story Museum in Oxford

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Every year I run a week-long writing retreat in Oxford & the Cotswolds, an opportunity for me to visit one of my all-time favourite places in the world and soak up as much magic and wonder as I can. I know, I know! I am blessed indeed. 

I've been to Oxford three times and each time I discover something new and extraordinary. This trip, I was determined to go to the Story Museum in Pembroke St, a place that always sounded so amazing. I had only an hour free, but it was absolutely worth taking the time to go. I now want to build a Story Museum in every city and town in the world!

The front door ...

A box to hold brochures ...


The Story Museum is primarily designed for young children, but is brimful of imagination, inspiration, whimsy and delight. Each room has a slightly different function, and is fitted out with real flair and charm. I loved the 'Time for Bed' room. Kids can put on a dressing-gown (arranged in size from very small to large), pretend to clean their teeth and brush their hair, then go into a room hung with curtains with an immense bed (I'm talking IMMENSE) where they can lie and read.


 

I absolutely adored the lullaby room ...

Another room was dominated by a Story Loom, an extraordinary contraption designed to suck out the imagination of children and turn it into stories ...



Another favourite room of mine held a story wheel in which children spin a giant wooden wheel and the pointer comes to rest on some aspect of storytelling which they can then use to create their own creatives tales.



The whole building is designed to be fun and adventurous and to stimulate children's imaginations while opening their eyes to the ways in which stories are constructed and told. Sadly no storyteller was performing the morning I was there, but apparently the museum has many different kinds of events - storytelling, creative writing workshops, illustrating workshops, and book talks by authors. 

I'd love to go again one day and hear a local storyteller, and watch kids play and imagine and create. Just wonderful, in all sense of the word!



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