Edith E. Sanders’ published letter describing her impressions after visiting the Horniman Museum

One published letter describing 11 years old Edith E. Sanders’ impressions after visiting the Horniman Museum on November the 28th, 1891. Unknown newspaper, unknown publication date.
A group of 11 years old elementary school girls visited the Horniman Museum and were afterwards invited to write an account of this visit. The newspaper chose to publish Edith E. Sanders’ account, as being the most natural.
Little Edith’s letter, addressed to Nellie (Edith’s cousin), starts by recalling the train journey she and part of her class took to Forest Hill Station. The Museum proved to be quite a short walk from the train station. Edith’s first impression of the building’s exterior was that it resembled more a private house than a Museum. Once inside, the first room they visited was the one housing Chinese and Japanese works. They then marvelled at the man and horse armours displayed in the Armoury section, and admired the Elizabethan Bedroom. Edith was particularly impressed with the carved oak bedsteads, and Queen Elizabeth’s comb. Next they went to the “Old English Parlour” with beautiful tapestries, the Japanese Room with china cups, and another Armoury section dedicated to Japanese armours.
One of the most interesting things they saw were the Egyptian mummies. By comparison, the Indian rooms, with silk, embroidery, jewellery and metal ware, had less of an appeal for Edith. The “Oriental Gallery”, followed by another room of Chinese and Japanese exhibits, intrigued the little visitors with the display of exotic idols and other curiosities. The “Long Gallery” changed the theme and rekindled the girls’ interest: colourful displays of corals, sponges, beetles, and moths. Edith took note of the fact that some of the latter had been named after Mr. Horniman himself, as he was the first to discover them. They next admired various exotic butterflies and other insects, and moved on to the porcelain and glass room. The last thing Edith wants to tell her cousin Nellie about is the “Zoological Saloon”, with beautifully coloured birds (including a Bird of Paradise), a stuffed St Bernard dog, stuffed seals and bears, and many other animals. She concludes by saying that the guide explained everything beautifully to them, and that she had never visited a better museum.

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