08:30 Saturday 25 January 2014

Peek behind the scenes at Sudbury Hall: Museum of Childhood

Written byCAROLYN BOINTON

DESPITE the closed doors and empty car park, it’s all go behind the scenes at one of the area’s much loved museums, in anticipation of its 40th anniversary celebrations later this year.

Sudbury Hall’s Museum of Childhood first opened to the public in June 1974, with an initial budget of £24,000 and was described by Barbara Winstanley, the head of County Museum Service at the time, as ‘the first museum in Derbyshire where, from the start, there was a deliberate intention to involve children in activity’.

After a major revamp in 2008, following a £2.2 million Lottery funded makeover, the museum has become a popular attraction for visitors to Sudbury Hall, with more than 80,000 people passing through every year.

Collections assistant Helen Subden said: “We are very proud to be a genuine museum of childhood, not a toy museum and not just a museum for children, but something that everyone can enjoy and where they can learn more about children’s lives through the ages.

“We have many different rooms, each with its own theme and it’s great when we hear our guests talking about the toys and games they recognise from their own childhood.

“Of course, everyone who has ever been here before remembers our two most iconic attractions - the Victorian chimney and what was originally a small hidden mouse-hole housing a tiny rodent family.

“Adults and children alike have enjoyed crawling through the small chimney space, and now the original mouse family has grown, with several mouse-holes to be found in the buildings.

“We have lots of exciting things planned for our anniversary year, and are looking forward to opening our doors again to the public on Friday, February 14.”

More information can be found online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sudbury-hall-and-museum-of-childhood

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