Here we go again. January, the monday morning of the year. I have only one word to say about January....Bleurgh! I know we’re all supposed to be positive and eager to greet the challenges of a new year but if I’m honest I hate January. My New Year’s resolution doesn’t help much either, it’s the same every year and I’ve never managed to keep it. Maybe ‘buy a flat in the south of France’ is a bit unrealistic.
It’s not just the weather and the dark nights of January I struggle with. Finding things to occupy young children at this time of year can be especially difficult. And then I had an epiphany. I discovered the delight that is The Educational Museum in Haslemere. In the depths of winter this place is nothing short of a miracle.
My children of course, love visits to the Natural History Museum in London but sometimes the thought of getting them all packed up and organised for a train ride and then a tube ride is more than I can face, especially when everyone is coughing and sneezing. So to discover a mini version of their favourite museum, only 20 minutes car ride away was a joy.
It was only seven years after the natural history museum itself was opened that this ‘little brother version’ in Haslemere was set up. In fact next year (2013) sees its 125 year anniversary, where they’ll have all sorts of exhibits and ways of celebrating. For details about events and opening times look at the website www.haslemeremuseum.co.uk.
For a small museum this place punches well above its weight. It is full of fascinating things to engage inquisitive minds. There are 4 billion year old meteorites that date back to the beginning of the earth and loads of stuff about the solar system.
My children love the animated film Madagascar so to see zebras, giraffes and lions displayed in there, really captures their imaginations; for them these exhibits come to life. Like all children they also love big stuff so the full size Siberian bear was an instant hit. And I’m convinced the giant Japanese spider crab is bigger than my first car.
There’s a great little interactive dinosaur feature, where you put your hand into a hole in a wall and all of a sudden a dinosaur starts roaring and stomping it’s feet. Even though my children have done this plenty of times, they never tire of it. And that’s the point. Little museums like this are enormously important to young minds. Only a few months ago I went to a similar museum in Leicestershire where the great Sir David Attenborough was giving a talk. He first visited this museum over 75 years ago when he was a little boy and he still remembers that first visit to this day. This was the place that inspired him to follow his chosen career path. So take your children to the Educational Museum in Haslemere, who knows it could be the making of them.