Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
This museum is so wonderful! It has a very eclectic mix of galleries and subject matter but unites it all well under the (beach) umbrella of the people and stories of Brighton. This main hall is visually stunning and has vignettes of furniture from the 1900s to the modern period. As always, I gravitated towards the William Morris/ Arts & Crafts style stuff.
Ashley and I got to make our own tile sequence! It was a fun little activity that all ages can enjoy. The gallery space (World Stories Young Voices) was really well done. It featured items from around the world in 6 sections and had local people organise, respond and help write the labels. It’s a great way to connect the community to the collection and vice versa. SO COOL!
One of the temporary exhibits was about the Brighton Blues – or the men who lived at the Royal Pavilion when it was a Hospital and rest home for amputees. The exhibit focused on three men’s stories (from WWII) and had modern veterans and amputees respond to their stories. I really liked this wall which encouraged visitor responses. As you can see lots of people responded! They asked for ways to improve the museum for visitors with disabilities and had the email address of an employee up for them to contact. It was a great way to bring these stories to the modern period and make the museum more accessible at the same time!
Brighton is well known in the UK as an LGBTQ centre. Within the historic displays, were individuals who were highlighted as being LGTBQ and from Brighton. I quite liked the little trail maps! It’s nice to see that the museum is reflecting their visitors and locals.
The more ‘classic’ history gallery was really nicely organised to show sectors of society and highlight differences between perceptions and realities. I enjoyed all the great big photos around the space of Brightonians. Ashley was riveted as you can see.
They have a ceramic gallery that is mostly the collection of one guy called Willet’s Popular Pottery. What I liked about it is that it was a collection of loads of ceramics, not just the fancy ones. Also they used the screens to add to the exhibit and provide protection to the collection from sun damage -clever!
Here’s a great example of the collection reflecting the historical and modern diversity of Brighton! This painting is of Sake Deen Mahomed who opened the first ‘Turkish’ baths in the country where you could bathe indoors (rather than in the chilly sea). Brighton as a sea-side resort town was where people would go to take ‘the waters’ to get healthier, relax and have a fun time.
The special exhibition was Fashion Cities Africa and was so fantastic. As you can see they had a dress-up station of which Ashley and I took full advantage. The exhibit was about four cities in Africa – Lagos, Casablanca, Nairobi and Johannesburg. Each city was represented by three or four different fashion designers. Fashion exhibits are always fun and this one was particularly good. The exhibit was great as it let the designers speak for themselves in quotes and clothing (though edited and organised by the curators of course).
They even did a secondary smaller exhibit which featured Africans who live in Brighton modelling their clothing and style. Those photos were really lovely and definitely made the big exhibit connect locally to Brighton in a meaningful way.
I haven’t even covered the art gallery space, historic clothing, ancient Egypt and probably another gallery or two. They were all great as well!
Pros: ITS AMAZING! The shop and cafe were cute, kind staff, great exhibits, cool collections, fun activities, good for all ages and all mobility types. The building is also like the Royal Pavilion and is Mughal inspired.
Cons: I honestly can’t think of any!