Ten magical Museum years

Posted by
The Roald Dahl Museum
Posted on
11:00am, 10th June
Categories
Charlie, Fantastic Mr Fox, Museum
David Walliams at the Museum in 2012

We take a look back over the last 10 years to bring you the best bits; from Fantastic Mr Fox film sets, to record numbers of visitors.

2005

Museum opens!
The Museum was officially opened on Friday 10 June 2005 by Cherie Blair: “I made sure everyone could see my toes, no gloves, no wig”, so people could be “positively confident that I’m not the Grand High Witch”. The following day, the Museum opened to the public and welcomed over 1000 visitors in the first week.

First Writer in Residence, Val Rutt
Val Rutt was appointed as the Museum’s first Writer in Residence, starting an annual tradition of working with exciting, creative people during a once yearly residency. Over the years the Museum has hosted storytellers, composers, illustrators and animators.

2006

First Roald Dahl Day celebrates the author’s 90th birthday
Winners of a nationwide competition were invited to an exclusive party at the Museum on Saturday 16 September. From 2007, and for every Roald Dahl Day since, the Museum has opened its doors to all on the nearest weekend day to celebrate Roald Dahl’s birthday in style.

Café Twit opens
At last, bogtrotter cake for all! The Museum's very own on-site café opened in 2006, serving fizzy-lifting drinks, scrumdiddlyumptious cakes, but definitely no snozzcumbers!

Bogtrotter cake in Cafe Twit

Bogtrotter cake in Cafe Twit

2007

Museum wins Small Visitor Attraction of the Year Award
The Museum was announced as the winner of the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year Award, as part of the prestigious Tourism ExSEllence Awards, organised annually by Tourism South East.

2008

Museum webstore launched
As well as selling wondercrump Roald Dahl goodies in the Museum shop, the Museum now had a shiny new webstore. Have a browse and see what it’s now grown into.

2009

Launch of Fantastic Mr Fox film
Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox was released and the Museum was delighted to be chosen to host the press launch. Jason Schwartzman attended and Bill Murray pulled pints in the nearby Nags Head (once Roald Dahl’s local). Subsequently, the Museum was offered a couple of the film sets created for the production. You can still see one of them in the Story Centre.

Fantastic Mr Fox film set at the Roald Dahl Museum

Fantastic Mr Fox film set in Solo gallery

New Village and Countryside Trails
Two self-guided walks were produced  to help visitors explore the local area and point out key sights that relate to Roald Dahl's books and life.

2010

Summer of animation
Visitors were treated to animation workshops in 2010 with Chris Tichborne, Animator in Residence, and animation teacher Tricia West. Chris had worked on many feature films including Fantastic Mr Fox, Corpse Bride and Coraline.

2011

Joe Cutler is Composer in Residence
As part of the residency Joe was commissioned by the Museum to write a piece of music for the Little Missenden Festival of Music and the Arts. The piece was called Chanticleer and the Opera Fox and was later shortlisted for a British Composer Award.

2012

Writing Hut moves into Museum
A major project to move the interior of Roald Dahl’s Writing Hut into Solo Gallery was carried out  in early 2012. Complete with original dirt on the floor, Roald Dahl’s cigarette butts in his ashtray and all the fascinating objects the author kept close at hand for inspiration, visitors could now experience Roald Dahl’s ‘little nest’ for themselves. It’s now the highlight of the Museum and attracts countless visitors each year.

David Walliams visits
David Walliams was the star of the biggest ever author event at the Museum. Over 200 people filled the courtyard for an exclusive event to see David in conversation with Museum Director Amelia Foster, and hear him read from his fantastic book Gangsta Granny.

David Walliams at the Museum in 2012

David Walliams and Amelia Foster at the Museum in 2012

2013

Museum Takeover Day
The Museum invited 60 Year 6 students from Gateway School, Great Missenden to invade the Museum for the day as part of Kids in Museum’s Takeover Day. Activities included making a display, becoming living waxworks, and putting on a play about Roald Dahl's life for an invited audience from Abbeyfield Residential Home.

2014

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 50th celebrations
2014 saw the 50th anniversary of the publication of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In the book the factory’s gates are opened on 1 February, so the Museum opened its very own gates (donated by Warner Bros after the 2005 film) on Saturday 1 February for a very special day of celebration, chocolate and Golden Tickets.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory celebrations 2014

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory anniversary celebrations 2014

New online home
A brand new website was launched (the one you’re using right now!). For the first time the Museum shared an online home with Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity, its sister charity, and the Roald Dahl Literary Estate.

2015 

Record number of visitors
The Museum had a record number of visitors over February half-term, with more than 1000 people visiting on its busiest day.

Museum’s 10th birthday
The Museum has now been open for 10 years, and a summer of celebration is on the horizon, starting with the Big Birthday Bash this Saturday 13 June.  Here’s to the next 10 years!

Museum events

Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity