24 August 2010

Day Trip: The Roald Dahl Museum

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

'A life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones'    -Roald Dahl

In an effort to make books 'come alive' for our kids, we will attempt to visit places with literary significance. Fortunately living here will make that job easier : )

As fans of his work, we took a day trip to The Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. Roald Dahl was the author of childhood classics such as Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, James and The Giant Peach, and Matilda. He died in 1990.

The unforgettable children's musical movie Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory was filmed in Munich, West Germany in 1970. Interestingly, Quaker Oats Company provided big funding for the film as a platform for their new chocolate candy, Wonka Bar.

You'll notice that the exact title of the book, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, was not used for the movie Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory to better promote the candy tie-in. Mr Dahl disapproved of the heavy focus on Willy Wonka and less on Charlie, so he did not allow for the filming of the sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

According to Wikipedia, that unforgettable Chocolate Room was a two foot deep river and waterfall created by adding chocolate ice cream mix to 150,000 gallons of water which eventually created a foul odor that permeated the entire soundstage. Many of the floral props were edible.

Now back to the museum. The museum took approximately two hours to tour. The focus was on Roald Dahl's life and how to get those creative juices flowing for aspiring young (and old) writers. When we entered the museum, the kids were given little notebooks to jot down creative ideas for writing a story. 

There were drawing stations, dress up costumes, dictionaries, and magnetic areas to put random words together. It was loads of fun.

You can't go to this museum without some candy, right? 
And a darling museum cafe too.

Of course the kids had to try 
the 'whizzpopper' and 'fizzy lifting' drinks!

I just finished reading Roald Dahl's fascinating autobiographies, Boy and Going Solo, which recounted his full life in boarding schools, making trips to the candy store, being a taster for Cadbury's Chocolate, working for Shell Company in Africa, and flying for the Royal Air Force in WWII. I always wonder about the life of such unique creative minds.

Click here to see the museum website



Laura said...

You're so lucky... My hubby hadn't heard of Roald Dahl, but he's definitely an author I will be passing on to my children. My friend and I used to play 'George's Marvelous Medicine' when growing up.This involved us, getting anything we could find (including her mum's expensive perfume), and making a big gooey mess. I think some of the gunk we made is still stuck to her parents furniture... She must have been inspired by Roald, as she is now a writer herself! Lx

Shelley Roth said...

Thanks for the book recommendation. I just requested it from the library. P.S. I just saw the movie Eat, Pray, Love. Not as good as the book version, but a delightful movie all the same.

Happy Homemaker UK | Laura said...

I just love Julia Roberts. I don't think the movie has hit the theaters here yet, but I look forward to seeing it. It takes a while for me to get through a book, so I am still at 'India'. I can't wait to blog about that pizza joint in Italy one day!

Happy Homemaker UK | Laura said...

Laura, you may want to check out Roald Dahl's new version of fairy tales, particularly about Cinderella. It is great for older kids : )

Pocketful of Patterns said...

Wow - I never knew this museum existed; I LOVE Roald Dahl - read so many of his books when I was a kid! Will definitely have to check this place out sometime if I'm ever nearby...thanks for sharing :)

janet said...

So very happy I found your blog...I love it!!!! Roald Dahl is our favorite author. While growing up, my two boys read every one of his books. Each one is a treasure and a classic...every child should own at least one Roald Dahl book. To make it even more fabulous...he was married to my all time favorite actress..Patricia Neal. James and the Giant Peach and Danny, the Champion of the World are special favorites. Someday I will float across the pond and visit your wonderful museum.
Thanks so much for a great post...have a lovely day!

Janet xox