Since 1977, around the 18th of May, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has coordinated this international day of celebrations. The aim of ICOM is to raise awareness on the importance of museums in the development of society. The rate of participation in the last few years has been incredible, counting almost 30,000 museums in more than 120 countries.
The theme of this International Museum Day is Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums.
In the spirit of this day, the team at The Corner Shop has decided to share some of their favourite museums scattered around the UK and beyond!
“Without question, my favourite museum in London is the Victoria and Albert Museum. It has everything you could ever want in a museum but in my opinion, the best thing there is the furniture collection. It’s such a progressive organisation, so modern in its outlook and yet the furniture collection alone spans 6 centuries AND they have Marie Antoinette’s chair. Nuff said.”
“If I arrive in Euston early before regular trips up north, I will always try and swing by the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road. A fascinating exhibition there recently, ‘States of Mind’, explored edges of consciousness from the perspective of artists, psychologists, philosophers and neuroscientists.”
“My favourite museum in London is the Churchill War Rooms. Formerly a secret WW2 bunker, the Churchill War Rooms tells the story of Winston Churchill’s life and legacy and is a warren of rooms which used to house Churchill, his cabinet and strategists. I loved walking around on a grey Saturday afternoon, my heels clicking on the floor, pretending to be part of a secret mission in WW2.”
“My favourite museum in the UK is in the hometown of Leicester – New Walk Museum. Now a combined museum and art gallery it’s not particularly flashy but hosts some surprising gems such as an internationally acclaimed collection of early 20th century German art, Richard Attenborough’s collection of Picasso ceramics, and a full scale replica of a Cetiosaurus (it looks a bit like a Brontosaurus FYI). Free to the public, it’s always a nice place to wonder into. I like it the most as it’s the museum I grew up with and one which I ended up working at for years.”
"My favourite museum is the Natural History Museum as it was the first museum I ever went to and it’s one of the free ones in London!’
“Le Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. The Museum of Hunting and Nature is a weird little museum in the hip happening and lush Marais of Paris. Full of stuffed animals, guns and odd bits, including a talking boar head and a ceiling made of owl faces. Tucked away, it is worth a detour (but not for vegetarians).”
“My favourite is the Ashmolean in Oxford. I’m sure there are salty curators pawing over broken urns festering in nasal crypts in the Aegean archipelago. But you could just go to the Ashmolean where they have bucket loads of old tat with the kind of access Naxos could only dream of. And most of it's in one piece.”
"My favourite museum sadly no longer exists. It was the Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) that used to live on the Southbank in London. It was a museum of the history of cinema technology and media and as a child it was fantastic. I got to play with shadow puppets, pretend I was superman, read the news and be a guest on a chat show."
“The Burrell Collection in Glasgow. Happy memories exploring the plunder from Sir William’s expeditions around the globe (moral objections aside) when visiting grandparents in Scotland. There’s something for every member of the family; from a stained glass window from a 17th century French church to ancient Chinese porcelain to the armoury! The building housing the collection (currently under renovation) gives floor-to-ceiling views into the beautiful grounds, perfect for a game of family hide and seek…”
Hannah Barnett Leveson
“My favourite museum is The Beatles Story exhibition at the Albert Dock in Liverpool. Despite being a bit of a tourist trap, it beautifully captures a moment in time when music was a pure, escapist joy and the dawning success of one local band became a significant milestone in global history.”
“My favourite museum is also the V&A, but since it has been mentioned I will say the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. The building is absolutely gorgeous and the display is just the most absurd and amazing collection of pieces. You can find impressive works by artists like Salvador Dalí but also WW2 airplanes hanging from the ceiling! And let’s not forget the pipe organ player every day at 1 p.m.!”