Sunday, 22 January 2012

Days Out in Devon: Royal Albert Memorial Museum

About, say, three or four years ago Mama and Papa Lovelygrey were visiting and wanted to take Louis out for the day in Exeter.  I suggested that they went to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.  But they were disappointed.  'It's was closed' they said. 'Until 2011!'

Well the long awaiting re-opening finally came round in December and even though the boys visited during between Christmas and New Year when I had to work, I decided to drag them out there again for a visit yesterday.  Stupidly I was expected a bit of replastering and a touch of paint but doh! That doesn't take years and fifteen million pounds unless it's a job by the ultimate builder from hell. No, what's been achieved is a spectacular new build which has been sensitively joined to the buildings original Arts and Craft galleries.

I'll get my moans out of the way first.  Gerald, the museum's iconic giraffe whose used to dominate the middle of a  two storied galleried hall has been relegated to a gallery at the back of the building.  His old haunt has been given over to a restaurant.  And although there's twelve bee bags, each containing different equipment to help teeny  children enjoy their visit, it would be good to have something like an activity sheet to slow down the progress of older kids around the galleries.  However these moans are minor and overall I was really impressed with this lovely free revamped Devonian attraction.

Our city museums are often eclectic in nature and this is no exception.    They contain a hotch potch of gifted and found items including lots of beasties that were shot in the 19th century and foreign artifacts which beg the question about whether they should be returned to their native lands.  However the curators have worked at bringing together different aspects of the collection to make a aesthetically pleasing, culturally sensitive and  educational display.  Lots of things caught my eye but for now I'll share just one.  Have a guess at what this gratifyingly ordered display might just be!

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