First published in Leader

We are delighted to report this week that Oxford is to be home to a major new attraction — the story museum.

Just a week after the opening of the new galleries at the Ashmolean Museum, we learn that the city is to get yet another world-class facility.

You have to admire the ambition of those behind plans for a £14m museum dedicated to the art of storytelling.

Still more admirable is the fact that this project is up and running with the acquisition of a significant building in the heart of Oxford.

There is a long way to go to raise the remaining money to refurbish the buildings and equip the galleries, although who could doubt that a museum dedicated to the sort of storytelling practised by Lewis Carroll, Tolkien and, more recently, Philip Pullman will fire the imagination.

It is a tight timetable to have the museum open by 2014 when Oxford will hope to be Unesco World Capital of Books. Without it, the city had a strong case to be World Book Capital. With it, Oxford’s case becomes yet more compelling.

Most important, however, is not the grand ambition behind this museum, but the fact that it has grown out of a long-standing project to teach schoolchildren the value of storytelling, and that that will remain at the heart of it.


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