Welcome to the Museum of Swimming. This new blog focussing on the junction of art, museums and swimming has moved in and replaced the former Stanley and Friends blog I wrote for my nephew.
This blog began as an Icebreaker exercise on a volunteer training day with Kids in Museums. I began volunteering with Kids in Museums this year, and to jumpstart the experience I was invited to their spring training session. Upon arrival we were presented with paper and coloured pencils and asked, in a word, to create the museum of our dreams to present to our peers seated around the table. What a daunting task.
Having recently encountered several curious images on the theme of swimming, being an obsessive swimming and lover of art, the idea for The Museum of Swimming was born.
My chicken-scratch prototype is posted above. It includes a gallery of images, illustrations and paintings on loan; I envisioned Seurat’s Bather’s at Asnieres, a 16th century illustration entitled ‘An Introduction for to learne to swimme’ I encountered at the British Library, and a page on ‘Natation’ from a 1950’s Larousse Dictionnaire francaise I found at a second hand shop in Hanwell, London. I envision the gallery would also include poetry and other art forms like Busby Berkeley’s films, to get folks into swimming.
The Museum would also include an aquatic centre with an Olympic 50 metre indoor swimming pool, an outdoor 50 metre lido, a recreation pool for children, an area for lessons and demonstrations (try different strokes, improver and taster sessions for all ages), café, a gallery about health and well being, an outdoor park, artists’ installations, testimonials from swimmers from all walks of life, a gallery of water in culture to discuss things like the symbolism of bathing and baptism, and gallery of ‘your questions answered’ like “How do you poop during a Channel swim?” or “What do I need to take in my swimming bag when going to the pool with my toddlers?” and of course community engagement to keep the space relevant, including satellite outreach activities in the community.
With my prototype in mind, I welcome you to take a dip, swim or dive at this evolving, virtual Museum of Swimming where I will share art and images, news items, musings, histories and anything else related to the culture of swimming. Bienvenue!