Wednesday, 7 January 2015

My Dad's Museum

from the Museum of Richard Corbet Woodall (my Dad!)

Most of my peers who work within museums can recall a seminal moment in their childhoods, when they visited a museum and had a profound, moving, scary, exciting, or otherwise extraordinary experience. I can't. As a child, although I visited all sorts of National Trust houses, churches and some museums too, these visits haven't made a profound impact. For some years I felt I bit concerned about this, wondering what it was that now draws me to funny little objects and rummaging about in collections.

And then I remembered my father's museum. Tucked away in an old chest of drawers in the garage, it was where he kept everything that he had dug up from the garden and beyond. And there was plenty of stuff. The above picture is just one tray from the museum, not a particularly interesting one when compared with some of the others, but still very beautiful. Clay pipes and bits of pottery and china in here. It still looks exactly as I remember from 30 years ago, when I used to sneak into the garage and play with the things, ordering them in different ways and finding the most beautiful pieces.

Anyway, over Christmas this year, I spent an evening while staying at his house, revisiting my Dad's collection, finding old favourites, remembering what was there, and discovering all sorts of new things that I hadn't seen before. I am going to post some of these finds as my task for the new year, and look forward to sharing these 'things of the least'.


At 7 January 2015 at 09:11 , Blogger hazel said...

This is wonderful..I too used to collect old bits of pottery from the garden..I actually picked up a piece the other day at Hartford station..some old willow is in the car.. I wonder if all children find collecting this stuff is part of their childhood..or just a few of us who were endlessly fascinated by it?

At 8 January 2015 at 03:15 , Blogger Alex W said...

I am not sure. I have collected some interesting things too in my garden in Sheffield. Do you remember the 'Norwegian Silver' spoon which I excavated, and also a bottle (you gave me a partner bottle too), and I have a little pile of pottery on my garden table. I can never work out why there are so many broken plates in the earth? I have never smashed a cup in the garden, have you?!

At 8 January 2015 at 03:21 , Blogger hazel said...

Our old house in Walsall was rumoured to be built on an old tip..there was a lot of broken crockery..wish I had dug down deeper now..but we had a very well kept garden

At 8 January 2015 at 03:51 , Blogger hazel said...

Your should blog your spoon and found bottle.

At 8 January 2015 at 04:39 , Blogger Alex W said...

Yes, I should... I have a long list of things to blog about. I can use my list maker.


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