Monday, March 03, 2008

History for Toddlers

Little Cherub and I finally took last week's postponed trip to the Buckinghamshire County Museum. She had a ball! We went by bus, which she considers a treat, and since I last visited the museum has become one of the most child-friendly I've been to. We stayed for two hours and she would happily have stayed longer. The Museum has a Roald Dahl Gallery with even more hands-on things to explore, but we didn't make it that far. That section has an entry charge (the main museum is free), so I decided I would see how much there was that would interest her in the rest of the museum first. Lots, as it turned out! Victorian toys to play with, a large wooden train with goods and drivers to slot in, drawers to open and close (and point in admiration at the contents, even though she had no idea what they were!), peep holes to peep through ...

Here she is testing out a Victorian hip-bath ...

And dressing Tudor girls ...


The main building looks Georgian from the outside, but inside it is a hotch-potch built round a Tudor core. This was only discovered in the late 20th century, and the upstairs rooms have been restored to show the Tudor features. The original Tudor building dates from the later fifteenth century, and was built not as a house but as a community facility for the Fraternity of the Virgin Mary, a lay society attached to the nearby Church of St. Mary. After the Fraternity was dissolved at the Reformation the building passed into private hands.

Here is one of the beamed Tudor rooms (though with a Georgian window, to fit with the facade). The Museum website suggests that this part of the building may have been living accommodation for a priest, reached by an external staircase.

After our museum visit we took lunch to the park (sadly, one of the most underwhelming town centre parks I've seen, with a few sorry looking flower beds, threadbare grass, a disintegrating hard surface that was once tennis courts and a row of trees pollarded within an inch of their lives). Then Cherub fell asleep in her pushchair and I pottered around the shops until it was time for our bus home.

4 comments:

Melanie B said...

I love the picture of her in the hip bath. adorable.

Meredith said...

What a fun excursion, she's adorable!!

Pixilated Mum said...

Oooh, cool pictures. (And I agree with the other comments. The girl's a sweetie.)

A Roald Dahl gallery? Oh, wow!

Jennfer said...

What a neat museum. She looks like she had a blast!