06 August 2021 Share
The Story Museum presents a new exhibition designed to offer hope in the pandemic through creativity, imagination and play.
part of its ‘Season of Possibilities’, The Story Museum in Oxford presents The Book of Hopes. This brings to life The
Book of Hopes: Words and Pictures to Comfort, Inspire and Entertain Children in
Lockdown (Bloomsbury, 2020), an anthology of 133 stories, poems and
pictures from leading children’s authors and illustrators.
The book’s editor, bestselling author Katherine Rundell, has guest-curated the exhibition, which transforms the temporary exhibition space The Treasure Chamber into an urban indoor garden.
The exhibition will run until 30th January 2022.
We spoke to Caroline Jones Director & CEO and Lisa Mitchell, Head of Exhibitions and Collections at the Story Museum.
Tell me more about the exhibition. What does it contain?
(Caroline) We have transformed a temporary Gallery into an urban indoor garden, filled with creative possibilities. There is the ‘Hope Tree’, inspired by the book cover illustration by Axel Scheffler, under which visitors can sit, view the artwork and listen to audio excerpts of stories and poems from the Book of Hopes. There’s a series of colourful sheds – inspired in part by the many writers and artists that work in sheds - where children can explore their own creativity. The Doodle Shed, The Shed of Time and Space, The Shed of New Beginnings and The Shed of Make Believe are filled with interesting objects, art materials, costumes and words which children can use as their starting point to write, draw, play and dream…
What was it like working with Katherine Rundell?
(Lisa) Challenging in some respects, as we had to think carefully about how we could create an immersive family- friendly space, very much in the spirit of The Story Museum design ethos, yet could flex to accommodate social distancing protocols. I think we have managed to achieve this by creating a series of discreet spaces, i.e. through the sheds and the garden, that equally knit together as a narrative whole. However, there were many positives too. Being able to bring this book to life at such a critical time and share its messages of hope with our visitors felt like such a great thing to do.
(Lisa) That’s difficult! I feel a great deal of affection for all of it. Can I sit on the garden fence(!) and say the feeling the space creates when you walk into it; the bird sounds, the colours…it’s the overall atmosphere…others have said this too, which is marvellous to hear.
(Lisa) Immensely important, never more so. It’s at challenging times like these that stories and our imagination allow us to escape into flights of fancy, imagine the impossible and hopefully re-connect with ourselves, each other and the world around us.
(Lisa) Legacy is a big responsibility! I very much hope that be it for a few minutes, half an hour or an hour, visitors are able to lose themselves in their imagination and emerge into the world once more, feeling a little more hopeful and positive about the world.