Hertfordshire, SG14 1DT
Free to all
Hertfordshire's charming county museum is a treasure trove of weird and wonderful artefacts, from stuffed animals to the world's largest toothbrush collection.
The museum was established in 1903 by two local businessmen, the Andrews brothers. It was their dream to create a 'free public museum for the people of Hertford'. The museum started off as a small room within their offices in the town centre. The modest collection grew rapidly as donations began to flood in from locals, and in 1913 the museum moved to its current location at 18 Bull Plain. Today, the museum's collection numbers more than 60,000 objects.
The museum's £1.2 million refurbishment earned it a place on the long list of the 2011 Art Fund Prize – a major feat for such a small institution.
Hertford's famous collection of toothbrushes is a particular highlight. It was donated to the museum when the local Addis toothbrush factory closed. Just a fraction of the toothbrushes are on show; there are 6,000 in total, each one lovingly conserved and labelled by volunteer conservators.
Other items include a beautifully preserved 1830s shepherd's smock, household utensils, local memorabilia, product packaging and children's toys, all carefully arranged in glass cabinets.
The public storeroom, located down the road from the main museum, is sometimes opened to the public. It contains gems such as a vintage phone box and a brightly coloured stuffed hornbill.