Days Out: The Cartoon Museum, Russell Street, London
Sunday 12 March 2006
Just opened, the Cartoon Museum is the first of its kind in London, dedicated to preserving the best of British cartoons and home to a collection of comic art dating back to the 18th century. The venue, a former dairy just a stone's throw from the British Museum, has two floors of galleries of modest size. But they are well lit and airy and contain a wonderful collection of cartoons, spanning classic works by Gillray through to Scarfe's 3D sculpture-cum-leather-armchair, Chairman Mao. There are also classic pages from The Beano, The Dandy and Topper, vintage wartime cartoons and work by many well known contemporary cartoonists. With more than 750 cartoons and caricatures, including 250 originals, and a library of more than 3,000 books, the museum has something to satisfy practically every taste.
The Young Artists' Gallery and workshop area put children to work, with facilities for drawing and learning about cartoons. Check the website for cartoon and animation classes and family fun days.
The collection is very informative, and a gives a real insight into history and current affairs in a truly original way: history through the eyes of cartoonists is funnier and often more accurate than history books. You will find artwork here by all your favourites, including Steve Bell and our own Martin Rowson. The museum shop offers the chance to buy prints, books, cards and cartoon ephemera.
There is no café but there are plenty of places to eat within easy walking distance.
The ground floor is accessible to wheelchair users, but not the first floor. There is an adapted lavatory and hearing loop facilities. Large labels and text versions of the website are on the way.
Entrance costs £2.50 for adults, and £1.50 for concessions. Students and under-18s are given free entry to the museum.
How to get there
The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street , London WC1A 2HH (020-7580 8155; cartooncentre.com). Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10.30am- 5.30pm.
By public transport: the nearest mainline train stations are Euston and King's Cross. The nearest Tube stations are at Tottenham Court Road, Holborn, Russell Square and Goodge Street. The following buses pass close by: 7, 8, 19, 22b, 25, 38, 55, 98, 10, 24, 29, 73, 134, 68, 91, 188.
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