Famous historical figures from Oxford’s past came to life at a museum in the city.

The Rewind Time family day at the Museum of Oxford on Saturday (April 9) saw characters from across Oxford’s history entertain visitors.

The free event was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and everyone who attended was given a passport to enter the museum. Each character added a mark to the passport which, when combined, revealed a secret message.

Oxford Mail: Picture: Ed Nix Picture: Ed Nix

Everyone who completed the message won a prize.

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Prior to the event taking place, councillor Mary Clarkson, cabinet member of culture, leisure and tourism, said the Museum of Oxford is a “wonderful treasure” and a place where “unexpected stories about the city can be discovered”.

She said The Rewind Time family day was an occasion for everyone to “explore the galleries, meet some wonderful characters and learn about our culture and history.”

Oxford Mail: Picture: Ed Nix Picture: Ed Nix

The team behind the event, History Needs You, took over the museum by interpreting exhibits and hosting workshops.

The historical characters who came to life included Eleanor Jourdain (1863-1924), one of the first women to lecture at the University of Oxford, Hardit Singh Malik (1894-1985), the first Indian Royal Flying Core (later RAF) pilot, a diplomat, civil servant and first-class cricketer, and Saint Frideswide (650-727), the patron saint of Oxford and the University.

Oxford Mail: Picture: Ed NixPicture: Ed Nix

The grown-up Alice Liddell (1852-1934) was also there. Although known for being the inspiration for the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland books by Lewis Carroll, as an adult, she was a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment during World War One. Guests were able to help her make and apply surgical dressings.

A band of musicians transported guests through time with different ballads and melodies.

Oxford Mail: Picture: Ed Nix Picture: Ed Nix

The band wandered into the street and around the museum while playing and singing, they also showed visitors instruments which have changed over time.

Scribes, artists, makers, scientists and shopkeepers from the past also popped up throughout the museum to talk about the exhibitions, demonstrate their skills and invited people to try these skills out.  

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Oxford Mail: Picture: Ed Nix Picture: Ed Nix

Alongside these historical figures, present day artists were at the museum including Rana Ibrahim, Founder and Director at Iraqi Woman Art and War. She was positioned by an exhibition on Iraqi culture and showed people how to write their names in Arabic calligraphy.

There were also chances, throughout the day, to take part in activities led by local artists such as making mosaics, art, dance and music in the Museum’s new galleries.

Oxford Mail: Picture: Ed Nix Picture: Ed Nix

The Museum of Oxford is the only museum in the city dedicated to telling the story of Oxford and its people.


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