On our way to Nottingham we visited our final Cotswold village, Broadway. One of the main reasons why I wanted to visit this town is because it’s home to an offshoot of the Ashmolean Museum. The setting for this museum is wonderful. Broadway is such a beautiful town with so many quaint cafes and shops. Even if you don’t intend on seeing the museum, add this town to your Cotswold itinerary.
The Ashmolean Museum is near the end of the main street. It’s inside an absolutely incredible Tudor house – very hard to miss. That’s what I loved most about this museum. Similar to the Commissariat back home, it’s a museum set in a historic building. This just adds so much charm to the place. So let me talk a bit about the house first.
It was originally built in the seventeenth-century as a coaching inn. Over four centuries it has been renovated – expanded and revamped. According to the website for the museum (http://www.ashmoleanbroadway.org/aboutus.aspx) the house has served as a school, farm and also as a private residence. You can see different architectural styles interacting with each other as you walk through each doorway in the museum. Make sure you take a peak at the back garden through any of the windows. Everything about the architecture and layout of this museum is beautiful.
Now to the objects themselves. This museum has only a small collection on display. This allows you to enjoy the atmosphere of each room as you move through the centuries. There is an example of a seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth-century room – all of which have their own unique exhibit.
Personally, I loved the display of a cabinet of curiosities. I believe it was in the eighteenth-century room right at the back before you walk up your first flight of stairs. Inside the room is a huge glass case and inside that, as you can imagine, are many curious things. Stone-age axes, shabtis from Egypt and Roman marble busts etc etc.
There was also a wonderful temporary display of Chinese artworks depicting the “Garden”. Right at the beginning was a painted scroll showing a springtime garden at the Han Palace. It is absolutely worth seeing! This scroll is from the seventeenth-century. As pointed out by the front of house, it’s great having a house built in the seventeenth-century display an item from the same century but from many miles away.
It was a very quaint and relaxing museum to wander around. If you find yourself in Broadway add it to your list!