When I was last in Wisbech I stumbled upon the excellent Wisbech Museum. I like local museums – I always have but as times have changed and every museum is turning into an ‘experience’ and so chock-a-block with distracting technological ‘interactivity,’ I have come to relish every opportunity to while away an afternoon in a slightly fusty, deserted Victorian building, stuffed to the gunwales with the most amazing variety of things imaginable.


In this aspect, Wisbech Museum does not let me down. Apart from the fact it was incredibly clean and not at all fusty that is. I pretty much had the place to myself too – just one or two others wandered in and kept themselves quietly reverential as they too allowed themselves to wander in their imaginations as they wandered between the polished wooden display cases.


There is an excellent display of labels and packaging from pretty much all over the place, but especially from the local community through the ages. I loved the simplicity of this label – a simple dosage on the from will do – no twenty page manual about the active ingredients or possible side effects. FOUR TYPEFACES THOUGH. Those were the days…


I can’t believe it’s not butter!


It was much more simple back then – lose weight? Take  Antipon!


Old museums were always fascinating to me, partly because they were usually grand, important places that you had to be quiet and serious in, but I was also fascinated by all the latin nomenclature. I think I was also attracted to the neat handwriting and how everything seemed to ordered, fixed and known.

There is obviously quite a lot of local history here, and I was as captivated by the lettering stamped into the brick as I was this elegantly moulded Lombardic fragment. There were a good amount of prints, engravings, paintings and drawings, but I thought I would finish my visit with a simple poster, simple and very much ‘of it’s time’ but rather interesting in its tone, which is much less reverential that what is expected…


The building itself did not disappoint either and had some of the deepest carved lettering I have ever seen:


And adjacent to the museum is the ambitiously named Wisbech Castle, which is not a real castle at all but an elegant Regency villa built upon the site of a much earlier Norman castle.

Ahh, the weathering, the weathering…

I would also like to give my praise to the Museum staff, who were very surprised that I had asked for permission to take photographs (“most folk do with their phone cameras and the like, whether they can or can’t”) , but who were also very knowledgeable and keen to talk about the collection. I suppose it makes a change from politely disappointing those who came for an audio tour and some sort of hands-on extravaganza. The future is great. But so is the past. Go visit a local museum, while you still can…

LINKS
Wisbech Museum
Wisbech Castle

So what’s in your neighbourhood?

I am putting out a request for contributors for the “my type of… place” section of this blog and would like you to put together your own typographic tour. If you are interested, download the contributors information sheet for more details, ideas and specifications here.

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