Review: Children’s book exhibition is a ‘fabulous find’ for summer

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured is a Adam Clarke (6) and brother James in the Reading Den. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP - Credit: Archant

Looking for somewhere different to take the kids during the holidays? Reporter DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP explains why a special children's book exhibition might just be the ideal day out.

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured is the Story Den in the Reading Forest. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP - Credit: Archant

Once upon a time a Norfolk museum hosted an exhibition to celebrate all that is great about children's literature.

And not being the type of person to judge a book by its cover, I thought I would check it out for myself.

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, based just outside of Dereham, has been running the co-curated exhibition since March and there is still plenty of time left to go and see it.

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured is a Adam Clarke (6) and brother James (4) using a typewriter. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP - Credit: Archant


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Once Upon a Time has been created by volunteers, staff, visitors and local library users and asks its visitors the important question - what's your favourite children's book?

And with a whole plethora of books, interactive experiences and multi-sensory toys to engage with, it is truly a difficult question to answer.

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My two eldest boys (aged six and four) especially enjoyed dressing up as their favourite book characters in the dress-up corner. From nursery rhyme cow costumes to wicked witches, and allsorts in between, there was a lot of giggles as they made their way through the Reading Forest.

Once there, the pair of them (along with their two-year-old brother) were quick to get their heads stuck in a book at the Story Den.

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured is James Clarke (4) in the Story Den. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP - Credit: Archant

The colourful, mini library was packed with a variety of children's books for them to sit, read and enjoy in the woodland setting where toadstools and trees made for a quirky literary backdrop.

READ MORE: Meet Gressenhall's five new little piglets.

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured is a typewriter. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP - Credit: Archant

The exhibition is described as being filled with "nostalgic favourites, modern classics and strange new worlds" and also celebrates Norfolk authors past and present.

Not only is this a fabulous find for the long summer holidays, the museum itself makes for a great day out.

Permanent collections bring the building's history to life, as well as demonstrating what happened both inside and outside of the workhouse during the 18th century.

There's a vibrant heritage market street made up of homes, a church, and a school of the era which will keep the kids thoroughly entertained.

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured is Adam Clarke (6) dressed up as a dinosaur and brother James (4) as a cow. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP - Credit: Archant

You may also get a treat when you visit the working farm. We were lucky and got to view some newborn piglets.

Finally, the woodland play area is perfect for letting your little ones burn off some energy and enjoy a picnic.

All in all, this was a fantastic day out and a place for all of the family to enjoy - no matter what age.

- The Once Upon a Time exhibition runs till October 27, 2019, and is held in the collections gallery inside the main workhouse building.

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured is a display of the word 'book' made from a book. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP - Credit: Archant

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured is James Clarke (4) dressing up. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP - Credit: Archant

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is holding a co-curated exhibition called Once Upon a Time. Pictured is Adam Clarke (6) and brother James (4) playing with the water pump. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP - Credit: Archant

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