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Midhurst Museum

Founded: 2011        Governance: Independent Trust        Scope: Random stuff!    Visited: Autumn 2015

I was sceptical about Midhurst Museum's online claim to be 'possibly the smallest museum in the world' as it's the kind of thing some institutions take a great pride in - back home in Dorset we had the 'smallest pub in Britain', the Smiths' Arms at Godmanstone, for instance, which depends how you define a pub; or there's St Beuno's Culborne, 'the smallest church in Britain', which depends how you define a church.  Then I arrived and discovered the hyperbole was probably true. For a moment I didn't realise the tiny unit in an indoor shopping arcade was it. The building in Knockmarket Hundred used to be a garage and the brothers who owned and ran it have amassed a vast collection of historic bits and pieces that are kept in a series of enormous sheds somewhere; when the garage was converted into commercial units, including a cafe upstairs among the wooden beams and rafters, the Museum was set up in a burst of voluntary enthusiasm. There is just about sufficient room between the custodian sat on a wooden chair, a rack of books and leaflets of historic interest, and the two display cases, for you to turn around and look at whatever happens to be on show. I gather someone from the museum society goes to the brothers' sheds of stuff and selects a theme for the coming month's exhibition, rummaging around to find what might illustrate it. When I went it was Concorde, and some Cadbury's tins. I believe the brick is the only permanent exhibit. I bought a postcard, popped a couple of quid into the donation box (which I think was a shell case, I can't quite remember), producing an alarmingly loud rattle, and left, marvelling.

Midhurst MuseumMidhurst Museum
Midhurst MuseumMidhurst Museum

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