Torquay Museum (31.8.2018)

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Torquay Museum

We had last visited this wonderful place a number of years ago – certainly before the birth of our two daughters (the oldest of whom is now 6 years old). I remember liking the place and the experience then, even though it was different to the numerous attractions we have in London. Visiting again today, we were pleasantly surprised at how this disabled friendly, and impressive attraction has developed and progressed over the years to rival anything in London of similar scale and function. The building sits opposite a beautiful park and is on a major bus route with stops right outside the museum on either side of the road. Parking is available in marked (paid bays) on the opposite side of the road, with further parking spots in the surrounding areas. An engraved stone set into the wall states that the building was in use for historical purposes as early as 1844, and we were pleased to meet a bust of Charles Darwin as we walked in. We often see various statues of Darwin in the museums in London, but we also enjoy visiting Down House in Kent – his former home. Considering how much research and data we have access to in London, Torquay Museum contains objects that really impressed us, and which were presented in a highly beneficial (and educational) manner, particularly for the children. The museum now has purpose-built learning and play areas for younger explorers, whilst the adult visitors can learn from the historical narratives tactfully covering exploration, imperialism and looting. It is a tricky business presenting this type of information, but we can state that the staff of Torquay Museum have created a very progressive atmosphere that favours ongoing learning over dogmatic versions of history. Our children’s imaginations were engaged and inspired as they played with lego, arranged wooden farm animals, dressed-up as ancient Egyptians, watched a short historical film and marvelled at the exhibits. Furthermore, we ate very well at Penegelly’s The Museum Cafe which is reasonably priced and stocked with fresh and inspiring food. We have never witnessed in London a Japanese military kite, an AK47, or traditional Chinese military weapons that were still in use in the early 1800s! For a small entrance price, (£6 per adult), the ticket gains access for any number of visits for an entire year! Like many of our educational excursions – it is Diane Wyles (my mother) – who often sponsors our travel and entry. For this we are eternally grateful!

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