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How much do you know about colours?
Bradford Colour Museum (Bradford)
Member Name: micksheff
Bradford Colour Museum (Bradford)
Advantages: Very educational, free
Disadvantages: Will not appeal to everyone
When I visited Bradford recently one of the places that I wanted to see was the Colour Museum. Tucked away on the backstreets, but not far from the city centre this place is not especially well known and it is certainly overshadowed by Bradford's most famous museum, The National Museum of Photography Film and Television just down the road. This is however Britain's only museum dedicated to colour and in my opinion should not be overlooked.
Think about colours for a moment and ask yourself just how much you actually know about them. The chances are, very little. Before I visited here I thought that I knew the basics about colours. I can name the primary colours and all of the colours of the rainbow - Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain is still imprinted in my memory from my schooldays to remember the colours of a rainbow, with each of its letters representing a different colour of the spectrum: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. I even knew (or thought that) the ancient Egyptians were the first people to use natural dyes to create different colours and shades. A visit here however completely educated me.
Historically Bradford was at the centre of the textile industry so it is rather apt that this city should be the location of such a museum. It is the home of a society known as the Society of Dyers and Colourers and they have made the museum their headquarters using it as a place to experiment and discover more about how colours play a part in our everyday society.
Many of the exhibitions here are interactive. For example you can mix together different pigments to create your own colour and there is a machine where you can then have your creation analysed.
The history of colour is told from its early uses through to the present day. The myths that are associated with different colours are discussed and explained. For example do you know why black is the traditional colour of mourning, or why white is associated with cleanliness and also with weddings?
What I did discover is that different colours react with specific areas of the human brain and trigger different emotions. They can even associate themselves with our senses and subconsciously these different colours can then be associated with different smells and textures. Such knowledge is now being used by the advertising giants to sell their products to us.
I was particularly fascinated by some of the optical illusions that can be created with colours. I also enjoyed learning about the important roles that different colours play in the natural world and discovering how a chameleon appears to change colour, which is an optical illusion of the natural world. There are several rather clever exhibits that attempt to demonstrate how different colours look to different animals.
The museum occupies three floors of a Grade 2 listed building that was fully renovated a few years ago. It is divided into two main sections. One of which is called the World of Colour and the other is the Colours and Textile Gallery.
The World of Colour section is the area where the hands on exhibits can be found. It explains the properties of colours and explains why some people see colours differently to others. You can even do a quick simple test to see if you are colour blind or if you have 20/20 vision.
All in all I found my visit to Bradford's Colour Museum both fun and educational. It will appeal to both children and adults alike.
The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until 4pm and best of all admission is free.
If you fancy checking it out for yourself it can be found at the following address:
SDC Colour Museum
1 Providence Street
Tel: (01274) 390 955
Fax: (01274) 392 888
Summary: Britain's only museum dedicated to colour
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