Cambridge Museum Quest
In a galaxy far, far away…
Do you ever get tired of the Fitzwilliam? Even if your answer is ‘Of course not! I practically live there’, do you sometimes miss that sweet, sweet hit of smugness when knew you were the only one in your school to have even stepped inside a gallery? Well I have the solution to your desperate need to feel both cultured AND edgy. Why don’t you go and visit one of the many Cambridge museums that are more ‘off the beaten track’.
Now you might protest that not every museum is of the same standard as our lovely Fitzwilliam. True, none can compete with its collection of Renaissance masters. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty on offer if you are willing to broaden your horizons. To help you in your quest for culture, I have rated three excellent (and free!) alternatives out of five.
Having only been re-opened in 2018, Kettle's Yard is the obvious competitor to the Fitz. The house and its collection of objects and artworks were donated to the University by Jim and Helen Ede in 1966, and ever since has been a hotspot for modern art. It is truly challenging to see such titans as Barbara Hepworth and Joan Miró convalescing in this domestic space alongside what might otherwise be seen as bric-a-brac!
Range – 5/5 – Arguably a piece of art unto itself, Kettle's Yard allows you to encounter majestic pieces whilst inviting you to contemplate your own relationship with them
Accessibility – 3/5 – I know I am a biased Newnhamite, but to me, Kettle's Yard feels quite far away. Depending on your college, you may disagree. However, on the website there is an option to do a virtual tour!
Edginess – 5/5 – Obviously…
Whipple Museum for the History of Science
If you are looking to both impress and horrify your friends, look no further than the Whipple. Tucked away behind Fitzbillies, this museum offers punters a glimpse of some truly bizarre scientific items, including plaster anatomical models and artificial horse teeth. The majority of the collection was donated by Robert Steward Whipple in 1944, who happily also lent his excellent name.
Range- 4/5 – I took off a point because it is technically only a collection of scientific artefacts
Accessibility -5/5 – Not far from both the Science and Arts sites, this Museum can easily be visited during lunchtime or in-between lectures
Edginess – 3/5 – On the one hand this collection is truly something different. On the other, you are the weirdo looking at early incarnations of the calculator. You choose how cool that really makes you
The New Hall Art Collection
With celebrations happening across the university to commemorate 150 years of Cambridge (sort of) accepting women, what better time to visit The Collection? Situated within the modernist splendour of Murray Edwards, it is considered (according to the college website) ‘one of the largest and most significant collections of contemporary art by women in the world’. And while you are there, why not throw in a photoshoot outside the infamous Medwards Dome?
Range – 4/5 – If all art is not to your taste, do not fear! The Collection caters to those of both the modern and contemporary persuasions.
Accessibility – 5/5 – With no pre-booking necessary, The Collection is open throughout the year to browse as you wish.
Edginess -4/5 – Impress all your friends with your feminist credentials
Are you still here? Go check them out!
Images used with permission from the sources.