Wednesday, 23 February 2011

the museum of british folklore

Two great exhibitions to look forward to later on this year, both brought together by Simon Costin, whose Museum Of British Folklore (you can like it on facebook and find out more) will hopefully have a permanent home at some point, although for now it's got a really lovely logo (pictured above), designed by Jonny Hannah.

Costin is a designer and artist (he was Alexander McQueen's art director), whose lifelong fascination with the folklore traditions of the British Isles led him to create the Museum a few years ago. So far, it's toured the country in caravan form, presenting ephemera and artefacts about traditional customs and seasonal celebrations, from Padstow May Day to the Grovelly Rights (Grovely! Grovely! Grovely!) and all other kinds of mystically wonderful weirdness.

I've been impressed that it's not only about history, but also traditions that are still very much alive, and that goes too for the exhibitions the Museum's involved with. In November Remember, Remember: A History Of British Fireworks, at Compton Verney in Warwickshire, presents Maurice Evan's collection of 20th-century Bonfire Night packaging and advertising (pictured below), the pictures for which make me want to get a sparkler and some handmade vanilla fudge to go with it.

Before then, although I'm not sure when, Dark Britannica: The Witchcraft Counterculture In 1950s Britain, provides a flipside to this year's Festival Of Britain celebrations centred around London's Southbank Centre. Teaming up with the Museum Of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall, the Museum Of Folklore heralds 60 years since the repeal of the 1735 Witchcraft Act with archive films, press, letters, photographs and, no doubt, all kinds of interesting knick-knacks, all exploring the occult counterculture that emerged as witches and warlocks came out of the shadows. The exhibition is happening in central London, and when I know exactly when, you will too.


  1. It is also the 60th anniversary of the Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft this year!!

  2. Of course! I forgot that bit - very important.