Friday, 03 April 2020

New exhibitions are medical and artistic

WALLINGFORD Museum will have two new exhibitions on show when it reopens its doors at the start of next month, writes Matthew Wilson.

Visitors to the museum at Flint House in the High Street can also look forward to a number of family friendly events this year.

Museum spokesman Stu Darby said: “‘Plague, Pus and Pills’ is the deservedly graphic title of our main exhibition.

“It traces the fascinating history of Wallingford’s hospitals, caring for the sick in the town from medieval times to the present day.

“Its portrayal of the challenges of dealing with plague, leprosy, smallpox, scarlet fever and other such outbreaks, as well as more common illness and disabilities, brings the past vividly to light.

“Outbreaks of infectious diseases were always much feared, and in the 18th century smallpox was a killer.

“So don’t be squeamish — be brave enough to come and explore our fascinating exhibition and find out just why we are so lucky to live in the 21st century.”

The museum’s 2020 season runs from Tuesday, March 3, to Saturday, November 28.

Opening hours are 2pm to 5pm, Tuesday to Friday and bank holiday Mondays, and 10.30am to 5pm on Saturdays. From June to August, the museum will also be open on Sundays from 2pm to 5pm.

Mr Darby said: “Our second exhibition — ‘Willis family of Wallingford: artists and artisans — brings to life the work of a local family.

“The Willis family came to Wallingford from Hagbourne in the early 19th century, living and working in High Street and what is now The Dolphin public house.

“An industrious Quaker family, all of their six sons had artisan or professional careers.

“This exhibition spotlights the careers of George (1822-1907), an artist who depicted local scenes, and flora and fauna for engraved book illustrations, and William (1814-1883), also an artist but whose main business was engraving and inventing ways to fix early photographs.

“He patented the aniline process of copying and his son, also William (1841-1923), patented what became the universally acclaimed and commercially successful platinotype process.”

He added: “Our first family-friendly event will be ‘Can You Face It?’ during the school Easter holidays. Create your own facial reconstruction at one of our workshops being held on April 7, 9, 14 and 16.

“With a brief introduction to forensic science and plenty of imagination, you too can make your own facial reconstruction, complete with eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips, hair and ears.

“We have the ‘skulls’, play dough, and know-how. We just need your family to come and share the fun. Once your reconstruction is complete, take your own snapshot as a souvenir.”

There is free entry for children accompanied by an adult, for whom annual season tickets cost £5.

There are two workshops each day, but only 16 places on each and adults need to book as well as children.

For more information and to book, visit

For details of group rate discounts and membership of the museum, visit www.

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