A year ago, I took my then 9 and 11-year-old daughters to Oxford for a day trip. My plan was to spend a fantastic day at The Ashmolean Museum, which my eldest daughter had already visited with her school, but it was the first time for my youngest. We started with a drink and a cake at the restaurant, and then went straight to see the mummies. After the first excitement at the Egyptian collection, we began to move from gallery to gallery faster than I had planned, the kids kept looking for the next interactive tool, and not spending any time appreciating Roman art, as kids do! Though they had a great time, their attention span didn’t match the time I had expected to spend at the museum. So, by 2 pm, we were looking for the next activity.
As we wandered around Oxford, we stumbled upon The Story Museum. It was a building decorated with fairy lights leading into a bright-blue inner court with a Rabbit-in-a-suit shaped cardboard pointing at the entrance door. We could not resist and entered.
The Story Museum is a beautiful place for both children and adults who love stories. It’s located in a transformed old telephone exchange building and has exhibits, displays, and interactive installations that bring stories to life.
The Whispering Wood was our first exhibit, and the kids loved exploring each tree and the story it held within. The Enchanted Library was undoubtedly the highlight, housing over 1001 books from around the world, it allowed us to magically step into the pages of our favourite books and become part of the story. The museum’s many interactive installations encouraged kids and adults to become part of the story. My favourite? A living room that took us back to 1982, where we watched the Snowman, just like it was watched in Britain for the first time.
The museum hosts a range of events, workshops, and talks throughout the year, including book readings, storytelling sessions, and creative writing workshops. Overall, The Story Museum is a great destination for anyone who loves stories and imagination. It celebrates the power of storytelling to inspire, entertain, and connect us all.
We ended our day by having pizza and discussing how amazing it would be if The Story Museum recreated the entire house of Horrid Henry, in addition to Horrid Henry’s bedroom, “a mind-blowing installation”, according to my 9-year-old daughter, who is clearly a fan!
When visiting Oxford with children, the Ashmolean Museum is unquestionably a must-visit, but I highly recommend dedicating some time to The Story Museum as well. It’s an excellent destination for families with children, and you’re sure to enjoy it.