We recently visited the Staircase House Museum with our 6 year old. We were given a warm welcome, then handed audio guides, a map and some explanatory notes about the various eras and rooms. Our son was handed a knapsack with simpler room notes, room cards with activities and a few props. We'll return without him to make better use of the audio commentary (complete with dramatised conversations) as this time we ended up enjoying the activities in each room and revelled in being able to touch or handle so many of the items - unlike busier, more famous places where everything is behind ropes or made sterile with shushing room guards. We had thought we'd be in and out within 40 minutes but were fascinated with the trip through the ages and spent a lot longer soaking in the atmosphere. The wall with its exposed wattle and daub and unglazed mullioned windows was fascinating, as was the small model with replaceable bits of the various buildings and the fields it was built on. We especially enjoyed the kitchen with the wide range of fake foodstuffs, though Mathew just loved sweeping the floor with the birch broom and mixing the real spices. We put on hats (a brief nod to Stockport's industry and the delightful Hat Works Museum, methinks) in several rooms, made coin rubbings and wrote with quills. Mathew got worried about his inky fingers but my mind went back to secondary school and the constant battle with Quink and fountain pens in pre-cartridge pen days. The cold room was fascinating and dark and a great introduction to the presentation style. I loved the tea caddy one of the upper rooms and the 40s bedroom which reminded me of visits to elderly relatives in the 70s with their parafin heaters and sateen eiderdowns. I wonder if some children even try to recreate their own Narnia wardrobe moment there. It's a real gem of a museum and obviously well tended, after its near destruction a few years ago.
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