The Roald Dahl Museum is located in the village of Great Missenden in the beautiful Chilterns area not far from the outskirts of London. Dahl spent much of his life there and is buried in the local cemetery.
The Museum crams a lot into a relatively small space and has a quirky feel to it. The blurb on the website says it is aimed at 6-12 years olds; and whilst it is true that there are *a lot* of interactive displays, games etc for children to try; there was also plenty of interest to myself and my partner. Dahl was a great lover of chocolate and before you go into the section which tells you about his life, there is a huge Wonka Bar which smells of chocolate (makes you feel quite hungry). There is a life-size model of Dahl (a tall man) which you can measure yourself against and it explores his early life at public school, as a pilot etc and some fascinating facts about the man himself.
Of course it is his life as an author and his stories which most of the Museum is dedicated to. Quotes from his books are everywhere. You can see a replica of his workspace which was housed in a little shed in his garden, have a go at making up a Dahl-esque story, sit in a replica of his writing chair to see if inspiration hits and a whole plethora of other things. Comparisons are drawn between his stories and those things in the local area which are believed to have been his inspiration.
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Like every other Museum in the world, there is a shop and unsurprisingly said shop sells all of his books – along with a whole raft of other items which have those wonderful Quentin Blake drawings on them: calendars, school stationery sets, toys, mugs (I bought myself one). It’s almost worth going to the shop on it’s own and is like an Aladdin’s cave for any young fans of Dahl.
The local cemetery is a short walk from the Museum. Dahl has a simple headstone – but the thing that really chokes you up are the BFG footprints leading from the wooden memorial bench built around a tree, to Dahl’s headstone. It’s a poignant and beautiful reminder of just how much of a loss this man was to children’s literature.
Big thanks to Reading Addicts regular and prolific reviewer Debbie McCarthy who visited the Roald Dahl museum and provided this piece and images.
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