26 Characters at The Story Museum, Oxford

If you’re anywhere near Oxford in the next week, the Chaos family recommends you take a trip to central Oxford and find The Story Museum

Twenty-six stars of children’s literature dressing up as their favourite characters and being photographed? It sounds wonderful for a lover of kidlit like me. But taking children to the exhibition? Wouldn’t they find it boring?

I had been imagining something like this:

26 Characters @TheStoryMuseum

But the 26 Characters exhibition is this:

26Characters @TheStoryMuseum

… and this:

26Characters @TheStoryMuseum

… and this:

… and so much more. I’ve spent over seven hours there now and I don’t think I’ve done a fraction of what you could do. I haven’t sat on the cushions and read, I haven’t listened to all the story extracts, I haven’t written a story…

But my two daughters have bounced on Max’s bed, made a pretend cushion bridge between two exhibits, dressed up, drawn pictures, spun the story wheel, played in Narnia*, and dragged me up and down and all around with excitement. I think they could easily visit again and again. So could I.

Your ticket lasts for the whole day, so it’s possible to do a quick tour in the morning to collect all the stamps for a sweetie treat (allow about an hour); have a lovely lunch in one of the many nearby options of central Oxford; then return for a leisurely few hours of play in the afternoon. Which is what we did. Twice.

26 Characters is open until 2nd November, when it closes for two weeks before re-opening in a slightly cut-back form until February. Details can be found on The Story Museum website, as can details of many more events.

* There is a wardrobe at the end of a corridor of Long John Silver’s pirate ship (where you’re welcome to swab the decks) and Boromir (with the Eye of Sauron looking out for you.) It looks like the end of the corridor. But open the wardrobe door, and there are fur coats hanging up, and if you push your way through… it’s breathtaking.

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