A Little Off Base: How it used to be in Cambridge
April 9, 2008
CAMBRIDGE — Museums are a repository of our shared history on this grand old dame, Mother Earth.
But some folks get more of a buzz out of a museum than others. Museums and exhibits can be stuffy, sterile and averse to the occasional curious touch.
Those who like to get a tad more interactive should amble into the Cambridge and County Folk Museum, a centuries-old building that showcases what life has been like in Cambridge over the years.
Located just five minutes’ walk from the city center, the museum sits in a 17th-century building once known as the White Horse Inn.
These days, the refurbished, yet cozy, building highlights the accoutrements of daily life from the 17th to 20th centuries.
While a visit will show Americans a way of life they might not know, the museum brings out the nostalgia for many Britons, according to Beverley Hoff, the museum’s community events officer.
“Because it’s so chock-a-block with stuff, it evokes a lot of memories,” Hoff said. “They’ll see things here that maybe their granny used.”
The museum features rooms dedicated to kitchen life, a bar and a child’s room with plenty of hands-on toys to keep little ones busy, including an old, intricately designed doll house they can play with.
“It’s a museum about people,” she said. “It really shows life in Britain.”
Some of the artifacts are a testament to the ridiculous pomposity of the Victorian era, such as an apple corer the size of a sewing machine.
Throughout the year, the museum has various events and exhibitions, Hoff said.
One such way to pass a day is the “Victorian wash day” exhibition for kids, she said.
“The children will grate soap, use a dolly tub and wash things,” Hoff said.
During the holidays, Father Christmas, aka Santa Claus, visits with children at the museum.
The aged air of the building adds to the authenticity, she said.
“It’s not like going to a department store,” Hoff said. “It’s a lovely atmosphere.”
Getting thereWhat: A converted 17th-century inn now showcasing everyday items from centuries past.
Where: 2/3 Castle St., Cambridge, CB3 0AQ. Five minutes from the city center.
Cost: 3.50 pounds for adults, 1 pound for children. One child free with each paid adult.
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 2-5 p.m. Sunday.
Details: Call 01223 355159 or go to www.folkmuseum.org.uk.