Spotlight: Kim Pickin, co-director, The Story Museum
Kim Pickin, co-director of The Story Museum, Oxford talks to Elen Lewis about creating a cathedral of stories and what it’s like to have a desk next to Narnia.
What is your day job?
Helping The Story Museum come true. It can be a long day.
What are your private passions?
Creating a cathedral of stories was the private passion that became my job. Now home and family are my private passions. And I’ll never stop loving beautiful writing.
Describe what you do (your day?) in 26 words.
A big coffee. Desk. Emails – fundraising, galvanising, humouring, imagining, justifying… Kilocalorific lunch. Meet new organisational partners. Questions, reports, spreadsheets, thanks. Update volunteers, workmates. eXit. Yawn. Zzzzz.
What’s your favourite example of the Story Museum inspiring its young visitors?
There are so many. I’ve watched children become readers or storytellers in an afternoon. Parents, grandparents and teachers sometimes write to thank us. Young visitors tell us they want to live here. I’m fortunate to have the desk nearest to Narnia so I hear exclamations of wonder all day.
What’s your favourite piece of advice for brilliant storytelling?
Make your reader curious.
What children’s story should we all read again as adults?
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 150 years young.
What are you working on right now?
Two new exhibitions opening Easter 2015. Draw me a Story explores the imaginations of six brilliant illustrators and shows visitors how to make picture books of their own. There’s even an Illustrator Zoo. Time for Bed is a starlit installation that celebrates bedtime stories, nursery rhymes and lullabies – and features a gigantic blanket fort and patchwork bed. Teddy bears supplied.
Another small phase of building work to make some more of our extraordinary building warm and accessible. Then, funding permitting, a big exhibition about animals in stories, from fables to daemons.
How can we help?
I’m torn. 26 animals? 26 billionaires? Thank you, either way.