It was #MuseumsWeek last week, and it got me reminiscing about some of the fabulous and fun museums I have visited in Britain over the years. Historically, when the word ‘museum’ is used, a picture of a dark, stuffy, dusty building full of untouchable, far-from-understandable objects behind glass is conjured up. Now, that is far from the case…
A Yorkshire Childhood
Originally from Bradford, and visiting the city regularly after moving to Wales, we were spoiled for choice with really fun museums- even back in the 80’s. My family and I lived really close to Bradford Industrial Museum, full of fascinating machinery and engines. I remember also visiting the Colour Museum and, of course, the magnificent Bradford Museum of Photography, Film and Television, now the National Media Museum– which had the UK’s first IMAX cinema which was 3d! Who else remembers 3d glasses made of card with one green lens, one red?
I have a very faint memory of a family visit to Jorvik once too- but unfortunately the thing I remember most is the smell… Hmm, I’m sure it has changed so much over the years and I have walked past the entrance a few times since, each time making a mental note to make more time next time so I can pop in and relive the past in more ways than one.
But the one museum that really sticks in my mind was the time my Grandma took me on a train to Halifax and we visited Eureka! I don’t know how old I was- seven maybe. The idea of getting on a train (like an ‘official’ train, not a visitor attraction steam train) was very new and I can still visualise the walk from the train station to the museum over two decades later, with large old buildings towering above us, lots of people walking by in a hurry, etc. I don’t know how long we stayed at Eureka! but it wasn’t long enough- even though I am sure we were there for hours (and I bet Gradnma was very glad to hand me back over to my parents after a full day!). There was so much to do there- I remember in particular riding a static bicycle and as you pedalled a large mirror next to you became see-through and you saw ‘yourself’ pedalling as a skeleton!
I definitely learnt a lot. I do wonder if this was the point when I began to really enjoy science and start asking ‘why’, or if Grandma took me to Eureka! because I she knew that it would be just up my street.
My sister and I try to go on holiday each year together, camping in a different area of Britain. We try to do a bit of research each time beforehand, to check our campsites are located centrally for our explorations. However, we do also make a pact to keep an eye out for brown signs, and to be flexible enough to follow one on a whim if it takes out fancy. Which has led us to a few unexpected places! (that’s another story…)
We also try to make it to a museum or two, if we’re close by and if they look like fun. We’re not grown ups, and why anyone would ever want to be a grown up is beyond us both. So the following is a really (really) condensed gallery of just some of the museums and similar attractions in Britain we have visited, enjoyed and recommend.
Even though #MuseumsWeek is over for another year, I hope it’s highlighted some excellent places to visit all year round- most of which are free, so seize the day and pop in- there’s such fun to be had!