Press release issued by The South West Heritage Trust, a charity supported by Somerset Council, Devon County Council, Arts Council England and other funders.

The Museum of Somerset welcomed record-breaking numbers of visitors this summer with its hugely popular family exhibition ‘Axel Scheffler: A Life in Illustration’. During the school holidays, 29,366 people visited, making it the best summer on record for the Museum.

Axel Scheffler is the UK’s number one bestselling illustrator and the creative force behind some of the most instantly recognisable characters in children’s books – from The Gruffalo to Stick Man and beyond. The exhibition, which opened on 15 July, features artwork from across his prolific career. Each week of the summer holiday, themed activities took place, inspired by the books written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

Sean Pringle Kosikowsky, Museum Manager, said:

We’ve had an outstanding summer and want to thank each and every person who visited the museum.

Every donation made, trail and craft activity enjoyed, and treat bought in the café and shop helps to raise essential funds so that we can continue to keep exhibitions like these accessible for everyone.

We take pride in offering family experiences that are fun, inclusive and great value for money and we were delighted to welcome people back again and again.

Amongst the many positive comments received from visitors, were:

… thank you all for the lovely activities you have provided for the children this summer. Me and my daughter have attended most of them. It has given us parents an affordable and fun activity for the children.

 We joined in with every week of the activities, we thoroughly enjoyed it all! No doubt we will be back to look at the exhibition again. Thank you so much for putting on such a superb event and for the friendly helpful staff.

During the opening week, Axel Scheffler visited the Museum where he delivered an inspirational art workshop for children from Oake, Bradford and Nynehead Primary School.

Thanks to the Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation scheme, the Museum also partnered with the Somerset Food Bank and Pride in Priorswood to make the exhibition and activities accessible to more local people.

The exhibition was created in partnership with Events of Wonder with support from the publishers Macmillan Children’s Books and Scholastic Children’s Books, which continues until 28 October. During September and October there are Toddler Time sessions taking place for pre-school children, parents and carers.

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Visitor Services Assistant, Adrian Hamilton welcomes The Gruffalo to The Museum of Somerset

About this article

October 2, 2023

Jade Chant


Press Release