Theatre Museum, Covent Garden

One of my greatest regrets is the demise of the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden. Do you remember it? It was part of the Victoria and Albert Museum and a lovely place to pop into with children or without. Sometimes they would have exhibitions based on current or recent productions – at other times they would show automatons – more about them another time – and always there would be idiosyncratic objects of interest to delight the eye and question the intellect.

I used to go there a lot both with my own children and the kids from the school where I worked. So in 2006 when I had the opportunity to do a five day project with the London Museums Association, I leapt at the chance to explore the Theatre Museum and the Docklands Museum. I believe the latter still exists.

My task was to make the museum more accessible to children with special needs, so I devised a picture trail with photographs of some of the quirkier objects and questions designed to get them looking and thinking.

I was thinking about this last night so, today I found the trail and the pictures with questions. But no answers. This was fourteen years ago.

I am going to try and briefly explain why I chose these objects – but I cannot vouch for any facts at all. Please help me out if you know what they are.

This seems to be a miniature stage. I love it for its opulence.
A poster? You can’t tell in the photo.
A stage orange?
A cat….
—waiting for a mouse. But why?
An incredible pair of hands. Whose?
A glamorous dress. Whose?
I have absolutely no idea
Interior of a theatre. Again I have no idea how big this is.
These were on the wall of a long corridor. Interesting in themselves, but who did they belong to?
and these?
The queen?
So handsome!
An interesting point of view
I wish I knew
A wash board. We had one when I was small. Used in Aladdin?
Ballet costumes?
An allegory. But of what?
A character from Shakespeare. Who?
I believe these are letters from the Redgrave Collection. But I may be wrong.
Another Shakespeare costume?
The most beautiful hat.
Stage set showing traps.
Costumes? Harlequin?
Why is this ballet slipper important?
What. Why? Where? When?

Now you know one of the reasons why I regret the loss of this museum. So many weird things. And I cannot work out what they are.

If you know – then please share your knowledge. Let me know if you have ever been there.

The other places that have gone now and which were wonderful, I thought, were:

The Museum of the Moving Image, South Bank

The Cabaret Museum of Automatons, Covent Garden

The Museum of Mankind, Piccadilly

The Geological Museum, South Kensington.

4 comments on “Theatre Museum, Covent Garden

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