An award-winning museum located in two early 18th-century town houses.
Housed in the only museum in the UK devoted to the history of fans and the art of fan making, the 4,000 piece collection contains examples from around the world dating from the 12th century to the present day.
In July 2017, the Museum ran a highly successful Art Happens crowdfunding campaign to launch a pioneering project aimed at putting fan making back on the map. The £14,000 raised, supported the handcrafting of 60 fans for their Street Fans exhibition and enabled them to stage several project-linked events.
Fans and fan leaves from Hélène Alexander Collection are joined by further acquisitions, gifts and bequests accumulated over 20 years. The collection is comprehensive, but particularly strong in 18th- and 19th-century European fans. For conservation reasons it is not possible to display the whole collection together at any time. Instead key objects are used to form a programme of temporary exhibitions, exploring the different themes which have inspired fan makers throughout history – such as politics, fashion, fine art and architecture.
A permanent display on the ground floor serves as an introduction to fans – charting their history, how they are made, the materials used, and the various types and sources of fans.