Haven’t visited the fabulous Story Museum in the centre of Oxford recently? This might sway you! Brand new exhibition KA-BOOM! in The Treasure Chamber explores the step-by-step process of how a comic is created in the form of a giant, pop-up comic strip (created by artist Neill Cameron) – all with a healthy sprinkling of interactivity, as well as genuinely good advice for wannabe artists.
Guided by Octoboom the Octopus, kids will learn about everything from creating a character to colouring, lettering and even choosing the right angles for a fight scene. There are some great interactive stations here, including a video draw-along (when I visited, a young girl was doing an excellent job recreating a cartoon cat, as guided by comic book artist Jamie Smart), digital colouring in, and plenty of good old pen-and-paper additions too (including adding details to a giant robot, and speech bubbles added – well, pretty much anywhere throughout the exhibit).
There’s also a hefty helping of nostalgia for the adults – not only will you spot familiar faces like Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx, but there are some seriously vintage numbers lining the walls (was I the only one reading old-school copies of Bunty as a child?). In short, if your kids are at all interesting in doodling, reading or any combination of the two, it’s a brilliant addition to the museum.
As KA-BOOM! is included in a Galleries ticket, you’re absolutely required to explore the rest of the museum too (and we’d recommend it to get your money’s worth – the new exhibit is undoubtedly wonderful, but only takes up one of the smaller rooms). The Galleries include The Portal, Whispering Wood and Enchanted Library as well as The Treasure Chamber, and are recommended for ages 5 and up.
Galleries tickets currently cost £8 per person (rising to £10 from 1 July 2022), and you’ll need to book a time slot in advance. The Museum advises that a typical visit lasts between 60 and 90 minutes (depending on how closely you want to examine every fascinating object in The Enchanted Library – I could have happily spent all afternoon there!), and there’s a sweet themed cafe on-site too. All in all, a total hidden gem right in the city centre – get there pronto.
The Story Museum, 42 Pembroke Street, Oxford, OX1 1BP. Tel: 01865 790050
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