Friday, 19 January 2007

The Fan Museum In Greenwich!

As I began my tour in the Fan Museum I just stood mesmerized in front of one masterful display after the other. I was in no way prepared for what I saw. Beautiful, unique and extraordinary masterpieces, each relaying a story in history, or mythology. The intricate details and the exquisite work denote painstakingly long hours of labour and absolute love for the trade. A love that is shared and preserved by the obvious labour of the owners of the museum to preserve these fans for public display.
The museum is situated in the heart of Greenwich, and is the only museum in the world devoted entirely to every aspect of fans and fan making. It is home to a collection of more than 3,500 predominantly antique fans from around the world dating from the 11th century to the present day. And if that were not enough, the museum even has its own qualified conservation service for the protection and preservation of worthy fans.
The lower hall, as you walk in, houses the gift shop (a must visit for anyone with a knack for shopping), and a well designed room that serves the purpose of educating one on fan making. This room has to be visited first in my opinion before venturing to the upper floors. It puts you in the frame of what to notice when you tour the gallery upstairs. It points out the details that are poignant and worth noting when examining any fan. It serves as an introduction to fans: how they are made, the materials used and so on. This is a permanent gallery.
The gallery upstairs hosts temporary exhibitions by theme, a reason the museum owners attribute to the fact that due to the vast number of fans in the museum's possession, it is impossible to display them all at the same time. So the museum has ingenuously themed them. In my opinion, it adds a better and classier touch. The temporary exhibitions are changed every four months. The current one is Top Fans and runs until February 28. It is an exhibition well worth visiting.
If you're not into fans (although you will forever be changed by this experience), then you could just walk around in the superb garden. A true oasis or a little piece of heaven on Earth. Have a cup of tea in the Orangery (open on Sunday and Tuesday afternoons), which has been decorated with a mural that is just royal allowing visitors to bask in grandeur and finesse.
This delightful museum is worth a visit any time. It is well-kept, lovingly attended to with a warm, hospitable and dedicated staff. It is a rare gem that gives Greenwich its own claim to things royal and grand.
The Fan Museum
12 Crooms Hill, SE10 9NG
Tel: 0208 305 1441
Open: Tuesday - Saturday (11:00am - 5:00pm)/ Sunday: 12 noon - 5:00pm

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