18th January to 28th March
The “Eating In” exhibition (https://www.guildford.gov.uk/eatingin) runs from 18th January 2020 to 28th March and is well worth a visit whether you want a ten minute diversion from shopping or want to enjoy in detail the variety of exhibits. My first impression was just how colourful the exhibition is. The bright panels set against panelling of Guildford House and the colourful exhibits ranging from food mixers, tins to oven gloves create an uplifting atmosphere.
The panels are part of a loan exhibition devised by Leicestershire County Council but it is a clever choice for Guildford House. The theme of the exhibition allows Guildford Heritage to make use of the town’s own collections and even the building itself. The back room on the ground floor was probably the dining room when Mr and Mrs Childe and their three children ate meals and entertained guests. The fine plaster ceiling shows that this was a room created for show. Guildford House was built in 1660 so the diaries of Samuel Pepys are very relevant for recreating what life would been like in the house.
Upstairs, Guildford House was used as a café in the 1950s so Eating In is a very relevant theme. The exhibition has also allowed the Heritage Team to bring out a variety of objects from kitchen utensils to food. There are also paintings from the borough art collection showing carts unloading at Tunsgate or North Street Market before the library was built.
There is something for everyone including children. Two rooms have plenty of activities to entertain children whilst their parents to have a look around (or do some crafts themselves). When my children were small we would often pop into Godalming Museum for 10 to 20 minutes whilst shopping there. It was nice to take them to a museum that they enjoyed and provided a bit of variety to the morning. I often thought it was a shame Guildford could not offer the same experience but that is exactly what this exhibition does offer. It builds on the success of previous exhibitions at Guildford Museum such as “Your Stories, Your Museum” when a themed exhibition allows for a variety of objects to be brought out that have a wide appeal. We can clearly look forward to some exciting exhibitions in the future.