Sunday, 26 August 2012

Salford Museum and Art Gallery

The first time I visited Salford Museum and Art Gallery I was volunteering for the Family Friendly Film festival. While helping out on a crafty workshop, and handing out questionnaires to parents there was little time to explore the museum, so I returned to have a proper look around the current exhibitions. These include, 'The Wondrous Collection of Encapsulated Time: an exhibition by Sue Platt,' and 'Lost Salford Streets.' The former exhibition displays a collection of ornate clocks, which have been transformed from their primary function, into a piece of art. In each clock a different treasure, or strange object can be found. The work is eerie and magical, reminiscent of the Victorian 'freak show,' displaying jars of strange oddities. I later discovered that the artist Sue Platt is inspired by this era, and in particular the fascination the Victorians had with collecting strange artefacts to display in glass cabinets.

'Lost Salford Streets' is a historical exhibition, displaying photographs and original metal signs of street names, from the lost streets of Salford, which have now been replaced with apartments, shops and housing estates. This was a very nostalgic exhibition, which I visited with a friend whose family, as far back as her grandparents, have lived in Salford. This was therefore very relevant to her family history and also gave me an idea of how my own family would have lived during the earlier part of the 20th century, not to far from these streets, in South Manchester.

I had not known on my first visit to the museum of a secret Victorian street hidden away down some stairs, via a corridor or two. This was something my Salfordian companion led me to, with great glee, knowing that I had no idea where she was taking me. Surely enough I was taken back in time to the Victorian era, on a cobbled Salford street with a horse and carriage, windows into shops, and Victorian homes, and a pub full of the sounds of rowdy punters, and joyful piano music.

Although the museum is not as 'flashy' as the museum and galleries in Manchester it still has a charm about it. I do however hope that eventually the museum will gain some funding so it can be on equal terms with it's friends across the river.