Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books welcomes visitors back.
Welcome back. After being closed for three months our doors swing open on 19th July 2015 to reveal an astonishing array of exhibitions and activities in a fully refurbished visitor centre. For the first time since we opened in 2005, we’ve curated and created three exhibitions simultaneously ... with Painting with Rainbows – A Michael Foreman Exhibition, Rhyme Around the World - specially designed for younger visitors and A Bear Called Paddington ... plus a magical Harry Potter installation in the Attic ... there is something to delight and inspire everyone.
Seven Stories has been open every day for 10 years, delighting over 700,000 visitors since our unique North East venue opened its doors in 2005. During the past three months Seven Stories has undergone an exciting refurbishment, with a £750k scheme investing in the fabric of the building to make it even more magical and enjoyable for visitors, improving how the building works for visitors and making it more energy efficient. The scheme was made possible by generous support from Arts Council England and a number of trusts and foundations. It is scheduled to coincide with Seven Stories’ 10th birthday celebrations, which culminate on the anniversary of our opening date on Wednesday 19 August.
Kate Edwards, Chief Executive says: "We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the many people who have made our refurbishment possible. When we opened 10 years ago we didn't imagine the impact that we would have on children and families in the North East and beyond. We've been touched by the kind wishes of our visitors, the gifts, donations and grants from our supporters, and the expertise of the professionals we've worked with to make it happen. The investment we've been able to make will help us continue to be the UK's leading museum for children's literature, celebrating this wonderful art that we all can own, and making sure that our young people have the best start in life by enjoying books and stories."
The revamped seven storey building will continue to celebrate how books are made, where ideas come from and how we can enjoy and share them. Seven Stories is a great day out for the whole family.
Painting with Rainbows– A Michael Foreman Exhibition (Level 4)
Michael Foreman is one of Britain’s best-known and internationally acclaimed creators of books for children. A multi award winning author, he has been illustrating for children for over 50 years. With original artwork on show alongside playful props and costumes, Seven Stories’ exhibition explores Michael’s storytelling, and imagines a world without conflict, that cares for our environment and celebrates the importance of friendship.
Families are invited to add to the ‘Tree of Hope’ with messages for the future, explore stories of war and peace through War Boy, War Game, The General and Ali Pasha. A multi-sensory environment inspired by Dinosaurs and All That Rubbish and One World encourages building and play, Michael’s creative process is revealed in his artist’s studio and by his own personal artefacts.
Supported by Andersen Press, Templar Publishing and Pavilion Books. With thanks to the Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust and the Ernest Cook Trust. Exhibition designed by Sheridan Design.
Rhyme Around the World – A Nursery Rhyme Exhibition (Level 5)
This multi-sensory exhibition is lively and colourful and specially designed for younger visitors and their grown-ups. Families will step straight into their favourite nursery rhymes, discovering new ones from around the world and learning how stories, song and rhyme play a vital part in early childhood language development. With sensory opportunities and beautiful and varied work by international illustrators, there’s something here for all the family.
This is a chance to see original art work commissioned by Seven Stories for Over the Hills and Far Away - A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes From Around the World collected by Elizabeth Hammill, initiator and co-founder of Seven Stories, (Published in 2014 by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books) and the rare opportunity to view Harold Jones’ art from the classic Lavender’s Blue published in 1954.
Supported by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, part of the Quarto Publishing Group UK and the Siobhan Dowd Trust. Exhibition designed by 24 Design.
A Bear Called Paddington (Level 6)
Grab your duffle coat and your marmalade sandwiches and discover how Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear has been brought to life by illustrators and animators over the decades. Packed with original manuscripts and illustrations, including rare work by Peggy Fortnum, this StoryLab exhibition explores the adventures of everyone’s favourite friendly bear from deepest, darkest Peru
This exhibition has been curated in partnership with the House of Illustration.
Visitors can also enjoy new areas of discovery at Seven Stories:
The Studio and Word lab on Level 1
The Studio is the perfect place for children and grownups of all ages to discover draw, paint, write, make, doodle and build. Inspired by the work of children’s authors and illustrators, everyone has the chance to make a masterpiece they can take home.
This summer the Studio opens with The Pirate Cruncher and Seven Stories are delighted that Jonny Duddle will launch the new artist residency programme, by paying a special visit on Wednesday 19 August to add to the 10th Birthday celebrations.
Story Station Level 4
Under 4s can enjoy creative, sensory play in the Story Station. Step inside and be whisked away to a world of stories together. Explore seven of your favourite books, with the help of sensory boxes full of texture, sound and colour. Curl up and share a story together in our Snug or experience a new book through multi-sensory play.
This is the perfect area to enjoy play with your little one and you will want to return again and again.
The Attic on Level 7
Last but not least, the Attic is a place where stories come to life. Step into the shoes of your favourite character and meet the authors and illustrators who make the books we love.
For the grand re-opening Seven Stories has a world exclusive. To celebrate Jim Kay’s stunning full-colour illustrations for J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first in the series to be published in September 2015, by Bloomsbury, the attic will be transformed into the streets of Diagon Alley.
Supported by Bloomsbury.
“We hope that our visitors will be amazed by Seven Stories’ new look” Kate adds, “and that there will be so much to see that they will come back again and again”.