Money Saving Tip! The Cartoon Museum is included on the London Pass and GoCity London Pass. If you are sightseeing in London, then you can save a lot of money with the pass.
The Cartoon Museum pays homage to the rich tradition of British comic art by preserving and displaying cartoons, comics, and graphic stories by a veritable who’s-who of British artists. The museum’s permanent collection possesses thousands of original pieces dating from the middle of the eighteenth century to the present day; hundreds of these pieces are on display at any given time throughout the attraction’s multiple galleries. The Cartoon Museum hosts acclaimed temporary exhibitions, too.
History of the Cartoon Museum
The Cartoon Museum owes its existence to the diligent work of the Cartoon Art Trust, a charitable organization founded in 1989 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, and exhibiting the finest British cartoon art. The Cartoon Museum first opened its doors to the public in 2006 during a ceremony attended by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The husband of Queen Elizabeth II, he was a patron of the Cartoon Art Trust for decades and one of the museum’s earliest prominent backers.
The Cartoon Museum would move into its current building at 63 Wells Street in 2019. This larger venue has permitted the attraction to open a bigger studio and shop, while also providing it additional space to showcase curated selections from its historical collection and numerous special exhibits.
Cartoon Museum Highlights
The permanent collection of the Cartoon Museum contains some 6,000 original cartoons and comics and a library of over 8,000 books. A rotating selection of these artifacts is on display throughout the museum on a regular basis. Prominent galleries here include a space dedicated to tracing the history of British political cartoons from the eighteenth century to the present day, and a room where work by some of the most famous twentieth-century British graphic novelists is showcased.
The Cartoon Museum stages several compelling temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Depending on when you visit, you never know just what intriguing show you might catch, but recent exhibits of note here include Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers turns 30!, a retrospective on the beloved animated film; and She is My Daughter: All of Her is Me, an unforgettable graphic short story born of in-depth reporting from South Sudan.
The Cartoon Museum is renowned for its events programming, as the attraction routinely hosts arts workshops, panel discussions, drawing classes, and special sessions designed for individuals with sensory-processing differences. For more information, see the Cartoon Museum’s official website for the most up-to-date calendar of events available.
More to See and Do at the Cartoon Museum
Here are three more tidbits to have in mind as you’re putting together a Cartoon Museum itinerary.
*The Cartoon Museum shop sells a wide variety of souvenirs, including a fine selection of books, mugs, prints, and accessories. They also carry a number of art materials, as well as a range of merchandise pertaining to each one of their special temporary exhibitions.
*The entire museum is accessible to those individuals requiring the assistance of a wheelchair. Any visitor who would like to use a sensory backpack during their time at the attraction may request one free of charge upon arrival at the museum.
*Make sure you take the time to explore the Cartoon Museum’s Young Artist’s Gallery. This space is frequented throughout the year by local school groups and youth arts organizations, some of whom end up showing their work on site. Though these up-and-coming artists may not possess the name recognition of some of the other artists showcased here, their work is well worth checking out.
Why the Cartoon Museum Should Be on Your Must-See List
London is full of world-class museums well worth experiencing, but how many of them actively encourage you to laugh out loud as you stroll through their galleries? The Cartoon Museum is a distinctive attraction, one where you can have a blast enjoying all manner of funny comics and incisive pictures while also learning a lot about the history of this valuable art form. It’s a terrific place to spend an hour before or after visiting the London Transport Museum, the Charles Dickens Museum, or the British Museum—all of which aren’t too far away.