Museums are living things that evolve with us

So I particularly liked a chess table from the nineteenth century which could turn not only into a backgammon table, but hold needlework and convert into a bookstand too. But I was also intrigued by numerous very uncomfortable looking chairs across different centuries and a book case from the 1930s composed of cubes which looked a bit like an early sample of the Ikea Kallax series.

A nineteenth-century chess table. With permission of the Museum of the Home.

Focusing on the homes of the comfortable middle classes, the rooms on display give a cosy image of changing fashions in furniture and wallpaper, featuring fire places, paintings and quaint crockery which might suggest that people in the past were rather well off. 

While the accompanying notes occasionally feature references to servants and we get to see their working implements, aprons and bonnets, there is, alas, little information about their own living quarters, aside from a sample servants’ chest about the size of a standard piece of hand luggage as the only place they were able to keep their few valuable possessions safely locked up – at least until their employer decided to break the lock to look for stolen items.

By thehistorywoman

Historian & journalist.

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