Place
Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
museum in Brighton, UK
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Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
museum in Brighton, UK
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12A Pavilion Parade
Brighton
United Kingdom

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Brighton Museum and Art Gallery is just like my brain: full of unexpected nooks and crannies, a bit random, and not too big.

Don’t get the wrong idea, it's a hip little museum with a fun and eclectic collection. It's part of a lovely fantasy palace, the Royal Pavilion and the location can’t be beat - a hiccup from the Brighton seafront. The Royal Pavilion is a Rajasthan-inspired palace built when George-the-something was but a toddler and finished in 1805. Rajasthan in India, however, is bone-dry, with no ocean in sight. It's palaces are built for the hot dry weather. Seeing the Pavilion in the rain-soaked British seaside is just weird. Still, it’s a bright spot for the city.

On one side of the Pavilion is the old medieval town center with heaps of posh little shops and actually very good places to eat. The North Lanes on the other side is a mix of old pubs, arts and crafts stores, vegan this and that, coffee shops, and the wonderful organic food coop called Infinity. For Californians, it's like Berkeley, but cleaner and full of Europeans.

The museum’s main hall has one of those great high-vaulted ceilings and is full of cool retro-design furniture. Then, at the end of the hall, is a small dark gallery with random interactive world culture things, including a foosball table you can play. Around another corner, a chaotic and tightly wound display of the city of Brighton, starting off with "The Dirty Weekend." Back in the day, Londoner gents would come down to Brighton to have a poke with their mistresses or secretaries. If you came down alone, the city would supply the raw materials. 

Upstairs it gets truly strange, though. The first upstairs gallery is like an acid trip. The Performance exhibit is a spectacularly packed room of puppets, masks, and costumes worn for ceremonial dances from all over the world, with accompanying video displays. The lighting casts shadows everywhere and weird figures lean in to you from all sides. If you can control the impulse to flee, Sokari Douglas Camp’s Naked Big Fish from the Niger Delta and other pieces are wonderfully interesting and charismatic.

Then there's an Ice Age display, followed by designer fashion. Not the ancient gear of aristocrats or bishops, but a mix of cool 20th century stuff like Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, and Issey Miyake. Painting and sculptures from different centuries and continents are hung all over the place and somehow help bind the whole museum experience together. All in all, a fantastic place to visit in Brighton.

Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery is a municipally-owned public museum and art gallery in the city of Brighton and Hove in the South East of England. It is part of the "Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton and Hove". It is free for local residents but charges £5.20 per non-resident visitor.

History

The building which houses the collection is part of the Royal Pavilion Estate and was originally built for the Prince of Wales, later George IV and completed in 1805. It was initially intended as a tennis court but had never been finished, and later served as cavalry barracks.

After the death of George IV in 1830, his successor King William IV also stayed in the Pavilion on his visits to Brighton. However, after Queen Victoria's last visit to Brighton in 1845, the Government planned to sell the building and grounds. The Brighton Commissioners and the Brighton Vestry successfully petitioned the government to sell the Pavilion to the town for £53,000 in 1850 under the Brighton Improvement (Purchase of the Royal Pavilion and Grounds) Act 1850.

In September 1851 it was announced that part of the Pavilion was to be appropriated for annual art exhibitions and two months later the first of these was held. The local talent to which it was confined included Frederick Nash and Copley Fielding. The room devoted to the exhibition was the original South Gallery, now the First Conference Room, but later the exhibitions even spread to the Great Kitchen.

The stable building of the Pavilion estate, adjacent to the current museum premises, was used as a museum as early as 1856. It is now the site of the Brighton Dome – a performing arts venue.

The museum and art gallery occupied its current situation in the building in 1902. A major refurbishment of the museum and art gallery costing £10 million occurred in 2002. As a result, the traditional entrance to the museum and art gallery became the entrance of the Dome, the latter taking the museum's former entrance.

The museum is part of the Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove, comprising;

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  • Check out the full Wikipedia article about Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.