On a scorching hot day, the Story Museum in Oxford is exactly the refreshment required.
Visiting after a long-anticipated redevelopment, I I joined the audience in the spacious courtyard, enjoying our greatly appreciated ice creams and cakes from the cafe, whilst being entertained by a storyteller.
It is impossible to not feel artistic and imaginative when sitting in such a lovely atmosphere, with walls decorated with blue sky and clouds. Indeed, we were all transported away from Oxford and into the clouds for the story telling, in which Peter Chand, the resident storyteller, made us feel a wide range of emotions in a short space of time, extending between pity for these fictitious characters and an overwhelming sense of joy at the happy ending. In fact, the story was so heartwarming that I didn’t even notice a smile sneak onto my face until I was beaming from ear to ear. Looking around the courtyard, it was clear that I wasn’t alone in this feeling.
Peter Chand is an immensely talented storyteller and I hope to hear another of his stories, as he effortlessly blends between being energetic and completely calm. He told the story without anything written down or aiding him, as though it were created especially for this particular audience, including and captivating us all constantly. He had all the signs of a great storyteller; being able to fully entertain adults, young people and a particularly talkative toddler who went silent and just listened, all totally emotionally invested in a short tale.
The stunning design of the museum deserves to be seen by any fan of the imagination, with delightful details all over. A seemingly unimportant detail which pleased me was the cartoon superheroes on the toilet doors - nothing is boring in the Story Museum! Everything about the atmosphere of the museum, the relaxing storyteller and the charming story itself was wholeheartedly welcoming.
The Story Museum encourages everyone to be enthusiastic about the world of stories, no matter their age or experience with books. From the beautiful and inviting Small Worlds section inspired by children’s stories, to the enchanting Whispering Woods of spoken stories, everything is excellently adapted to be even more comfortable and safe than previously and everyone is immersed in the land of imagination.