Quite literally on our doorstep, well over the road and up a bit, is the fantastic Haslemere Educational Museum. Set just off the high street and with beautiful large gardens it’s the perfect place to spend a few hours.
The museum itself is 128 years old, only 7 years younger than the Natural History Museum. Housing over 240,000 natural history specimens along with over 140,000 Human History artefacts from around the World they are one of the largest museums in central southern England. The people that run it are some of the kindest and most helpful you will find anywhere. We honestly couldn't recommend it highly enough, equally enchanting for children and adults alike.
It is a very relaxed museum environment, so children don't need to remember their ‘inside voices’, plenty of interactive exhibits encouraging the children to become little explorers and touch, listen and ask questions - it really is fab! They have endless activities for the little ones to enjoy as you go round the museum, especially in the school holidays - our favourite was the fancy dress!
We were lucky to visit when Kay the (amazing) Education Officer was just putting her fossils away, she needed no encouragement to unpack them all and talk to the kids about all the different types. She was so engaging and they were all allowed to carefully handle the fossils, they have now been inspired to become fossil hunters and are digging up the garden as I type... Thanks Kay ;-)
They have a number of different exhibitions coming up. Lucy Pittway is currently exhibiting her gorgeous bright, colourful and fun artwork that showcases the British countryside at its best - her prints, postcards and stationary are also available to purchase from the museum.
One of the highlights of the museum is Arthur. Arthur is extremely hairy, with a big black nose and very tall. Arthur is a Siberian bear and the official mascot of the museum. But he is not just any Siberian bear, he is a Siberian a bear with his own Twitter account (follow him @Arthur_the_bear). The children clearly adore him (and so do we). If Arthur is ever looking for a new home we will happily welcome him at The Georgian. Here is a short list of some of the other fascinating things we saw at the museum; antique dollhouse, real life mummy and other Egyptian artefacts, butterfly drawers, lions, kangaroos, skulls, crocodiles, rhino bones, fish (and lots of them), fancy dress, dinosaurs, beautiful historical embroidery and drawers full of geological gems.
Museum in a Million
The Haslemere Museum is run purely on donations and bequests, but with the rising costs of the museum they have started an enormous fundraising project - to raise one million pounds. This fund will enable them to meet the day to day running costs of the museum and safeguard the museum for future generations. So, here’s hoping that Haslemere gets behind them and helps them become the ‘Museum in a Million’ that we know they already are!
This is a fun, quirky, eclectic collection of natural history and interesting artefacts. It is run passionately by a team of amazing volunteers, staff and trustees who clearly love the museum. It is thoughtfully laid out with plenty of little extra touches along the way and is like stepping back in time but in a light and airy environment. The garden is beautiful and you are welcome to bring and enjoy a picnic - in short it’s a must do and the kids will love it!