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Horsham Museum & Art Gallery

Founded: 1893        Governance: Local Authority        Scope: Local History, art   Visited: Summer 2015

The elegant lime-green frontage of 9 Causeway in Horsham houses one of the most heterogeneous collections I can recall seeing in a local museum - there's a bit of everything, and quite a lot of some surprising things, generously distributed around no fewer than 26 rooms. The Museum grew out of an initiative by members of the Free Christian Church on the Worthing Road, and had a couple of homes over the years before arriving at Causeway House in 1939, from which point it was under the aegis of the County (and later District) Council - rather early for a shift of that kind, and, unusually, one which has not been reversed in the current chilly climate for local authority museums.

Given the very professional way the Museum runs its business, and its website, it's something of a surprise to find how jumbly the many, many galleries are - you get very little sense of the development of Horsham as a place, still less of the personality of the building which houses the collection. It may be that the history of many of the artefacts is lost so there's not much to say about them. What you do get are some very imaginative set-pieces and delightful juxtapositions of the kind that are such an amusing discovery in local museum displays. The shrine to the poet Shelley (local lad) is quite stunning - it really does look shrine-like, and there is a display of open books looking for all the world like poetical butterflies waiting to take flight - and there is a nice Cabinet of Curiosities which neatly combines the spooky and the charismatic.Upstairs we find a very bizarre ethnographic collection (relics of the careers of various retired colonels across the Empire and further) and we are also offered a roomful of horse furniture displayed in black toplit display cabinets like the most glamorous of jewellery.

Horsham Museum & Art GalleryHorsham Museum & Art GalleryHorsham Museum & Art Gallery
Horsham Museum & Art GalleryHorsham Museum & Art GalleryHorsham Museum & Art Gallery
Horsham Museum & Art GalleryHorsham Museum & Art GalleryHorsham Museum & Art Gallery
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