1001 Conversations at the Story Museum
Stepping not quite through the wardrobe or into the cupboard under the stairs, but not far off, through the mysterious double oak doors which dominate Pembroke Street there is a world full of enchantment: The Story Museum. This not-for-profit organisation, based on an Oxford side street, was founded in 2003 and is housed in the immense and cavernous space which was once the city centre postal and telephone exchange. With roots in communication it is fitting that this building is due to host a ‘One thousand and one’, starting this year.
Their team of dedicated staff and volunteers open the doors from Wednesday to Saturday, revealing rooms crammed with living stories and interactive fiction based on beloved childhood books. Their main focus is – unsurprisingly – in outreach, and revealing the importance that story-telling can have upon a child’s educational development. This is carried out through many creative mediums ranging from live performance to the visual arts, and that appeal to children and adults alike.
The Story Museum is definitely not just for the youth as they provide many opportunities for adults to rediscover the importance of the fiction that inspired them as children. Not only does this building boast 17th Century machinery from the Bodleian Printing Press, for which it runs highly popular workshops, but it is also hosting a range of speakers to fuel the more mature of imaginations over the next few months.
An evening on ‘Story and Desire’ begins this season on Wednesday, with wine before and after (in case you weren’t already assured by the title that this was not an event for infants). The first of a series of conversations chaired by the poet Michael Rosen, this is an opportunity to delve into the depths of narrative. This is followed on Friday by Oxford’s second Odyssey event this week (the other being the Paper Cinema’s Odyssey at the North Wall on Wednesday) and is another discussion chaired by Rosen. The Odyssey: A Never-ending Story is the perfect chance to explore the Story Museum for yourself. There’s wine there, too.
The Story Museum will open fully to the public in 2015 but you can find a full list of upcoming events (including the 1001 conversations series) at www.storymuseum.org.uk