Stories From The Woodshed: The New YouTube Channel from The Story Museum.

It’s a wonder that nobody ever dreamt up creating a museum of stories before The Story Museum was first breathed into life, back in 2003. The idea of making a place that is focused not only on the tales that rivet and enchant young imaginations but is actually aimed at the children themselves should be a no-brainer. And yet so often, exhibitions about beloved childhood books have been tailored to adult audiences, all longing for backstory and nostalgia. Not so The Story Museum – and three cheers for that.



In its nascent days, it was, rather presciently, a virtual museum only, with no premises but which coordinated exhibitions with heavyweight authors and illustrators such as Michael Morpurgo, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Jacqueline Wilson and Quentin Blake. All that changed when, in 2009, it moved into a full-time home in a former telephone exchange in Oxford’s city centre; as the birthplace of Alice in Wonderland, it was apt.



Then, in 2018, it closed for major renovation, armed with £6m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Arts Council and private donations. The result two years later? An entirely spectacular, child-focused, interactive and tactile world; one in which children can touch fur coats hanging in the wardrobe, otherwise known as the portal to Narnia; walk through the whispering woods where every tree has a story to tell; and wander freely into little rooms, each its own self-contained homage to a beloved book, from Alice in Wonderland to Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman.

However, like other museums, in the year of the grand unveiling, it has been subject to the ravages of Covid-related strictures; in its case, particularly brutal since it was poised for its re-opening just as the first lockdown hit. Valiantly, it opened its doors when it could, having made it scrupulously Covid-safe and touch-free – no mean feat for something that was originally designed as so sensory an experience.



But the inexhaustible team at The Story Museum has been appropriately imaginative insofar as what it can offer. Coming full circle to those early years as a virtual museum, it has now launched Stories from the Woodshed, it’s very own YouTube channel.



Each Friday, a new story will be released, its first season inspired by Grimm’s fairy tales, all repackaged and retold in strange and beguiling ways by a cast of the UK’s most celebrated storytellers. Filmed in the brand-new theatre (which we are itching to experience first-hand when safety allows), the inaugural series will run until February 2021.

The debut tale, The Wolf and the Seven Kids, came courtesy of with storyteller Amantha Edmead. So why not gather the kids, grab a hot chocolate and curl up to be transported to a world of magic?

By Nancy Alsop
December 2020

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Nancy Alsop

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