18 February 2010

The lady doth protest...

The People's History Museum reopened at the weekend, after closing in 2007 for a top-to-toe overhaul and the addition of a completely new structure to the old building. The juxtaposition is intriguing: inside, the red brick, steel girders and green and yellowy tiles, a bit like those lining the walls at the Victoria Baths, contrast pleasingly with the white walls, brushed silver metal detailing and fancy big plate glass windows looking over to the funky new filing cabinet courts. Outside, the oddly bulbous rusted cladding is a strange addition to the original two storeys, but it tones in somehow and at least it's something different in these days of homogeneous architecture.

Unfortunately, the displays themselves are a little less impressive than the place in which they're housed. Despite the bespoke space, the objects on show and information boards seem a bit crammed in and it's also so dark I found myself modelling an unattractive squint most of the time. Nonetheless, downstairs in the Changing Exhibition Gallery, the current show Carried Away is an interesting collection of black and white photographs taken at demos in the 70s and 80s; the Greenham Common protesters held my attention for a while there.

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