Newest Review: ... on the 'everyday life'( and death) in roman times. There is also a new interactive tour of the excavations called Veni Vidi Verulamium whe... more
Veni, Vidi, Vici!!!! Or would of but it was raining.
Verulamium Museum (St Albans)
Member Name: Mummy_to_2
Verulamium Museum (St Albans)
Advantages: educational value, cheap/free, excavations
Disadvantages: small, over quite quick
***REVIEW BASED ON MUSEUM ONLY***
We have just come back from staying at a family member's house in Wheathampstead close to St Albans and on one of the day's it had decided to unsurprisingly rain particularly hard and wanted to take the children out as they hate being house bound but needed somewhere inside. After a quick phone call to my father he suggested we go to the verulamium museum in St Albans, loving museum's the car was filled and we were off!!
The museum is located in the rather large Verulamium park on the outskirts of the city. The park is built on the old roman city and has many excavations dotted around including the Germain block and hypocaust, across the road there is a beautiful example of a roman theatre which we sadly didn't see as it was too wet to drag all the children. There is also a fosse but this is inaccessible to the public.
There is a café around 100 yards from the museum in the park and also a lottery funded 'wildlife garden' with children's activities etc, again unfortunately we couldn't use as it was too wet.
There is good parking outside the museum with a 'pay and display' system, it cost us around £2 for 3 hours.
The museum itself is a beautiful Roman-esque rotunda building, it was first opened in 1939 and has been extensively redone with help from the lottery and was finished in 1998.
The museum itself concentrates on the 'everyday life'( and death) in roman times. There is also a new interactive tour of the excavations called Veni Vidi Verulamium where you take a hand held device round the park and it shows you what was there in Roman times, again we did not use this so cannot comment.
The museum is open daily from 10AM to 5:30PM Monday to Saturday and from 2PM to 5:30PM on Sunday's.
Admission prices are:
Adults - £3.80
Children, Senior Citizens and Concessions - £2.00
Family Ticket (2 adults + 2 children) - £10.20
Under 5s -
Free Residents of St Albans District - Free
Friends of St Albans Museums - Free
As we were staying near St Alban's and had taken my sister we were able to get in for free which was a bonus.
Entering through the rotunda you come to the reception and the small gift shop. At the reception area you can buy children's educational sheet's with question's find so on so etc for 10p each, these were great and got the children really interested in the museum.
You are then directed down the colonnade to the main part of the museum which comprises of a large round room with corridors and rooms leading off it. The room is dominated by 2 massive mosaic's one on the main wall and one on the floor below it, these are beautiful and definitely photo worthy. As all the rooms are connected we decided to take the first one and work our way round. There is a small separate room off the colonnade with a video playing about the roman city and the excavations. The first room contains 3 adult human skeletons still in coffins, one has had the head reconstructed showing the dead man's face! In this section there are also 3 children's coffins including two babies, this I could not bring myself to look at as it would have upset me too much, although of course it was a very common part of life in Roman Britain. Here there are also artefact's such as the burial offerings and coins jugs etc.
Leading on to then set up of model's doing everyday tasks such as cooking , carpentry and making clothes, these models don't wear 'toga's' but outfits that the people would actually have worn from before the Romans came.
Then it takes you onto the mosaic's all of which I found stunning there are about 6 in total ranging from a small section of a wall to a whole wall and floor each beautifully decorated with dolphins, Oceanus and flowers, although my favourite was the 'sea shell' closely followed by the ' lion and the stag'.
The most interesting part we found was the section dedicated to the customs and beliefs of the Romano people, this section included finds such as statues of Venus and Mercury as well as pre Roman god's, here there are also artefact's of the offerings given such as coins and bowls, there is also photo's of the shrine excavation.
My son's favourite part and indeed my other half's was definitely the section on 'War and Fighting' this section was very interesting and had A LOT of 'finds' these included a folded up set of chain mail, swords and other weaponry even horse riding gear and coin making tools, it also had information on the 'Boudiccan' revolt, (Boudicca had burnt the city down).
This then brings to back to the main hall with the mosaic's hear there is a small picnic area with seating and a dressing up box etc for the children and also a donation box.
Leaving the hall brings you back to the reception and shop area.
The shop contains the usual souvenir type things such as pencils, rubbers and key rings, and also has books on the Roman's and Celt's, as well as informative posters such as one of the bust's of all the Roman emperor's. There is also a section containing jewellery and statues.
The shop overall is quite cheap and good value with a lot of 'pocket money' items.
Overall we enjoyed the museum a lot although we would have liked to see the actual excavations as it would have helped give us a proper idea of the surroundings. The museum does do what it set's out to do and does it very well it was an enjoyable outing and was educational for the children and had something for all ( we took a 8 and 4 year olds).
We will definitely be going again the next time we go down to London hopefully the weather will be good enough to explore the ruins too!!!
Summary: a great day but better when sunny
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