Since my childhood obsession with flamenco, I have adored fans. Fans are effortlessly stylish, convey expression as well as being practical in the heat. I also have a life-long affair with Greenwich - I feel lucky to have been born in a leafy part of London rich in multilayered history. Based in a couple of Grade II listed 18th century townhouses, next to the immense Greenwich park, The Fan Museum satisfies two of my loves.
The only museum in the UK completely dedicated to fans, The Fan Museum provides a comprehensive guide to the materials and elaborate skills used to create these handheld accessories, from all over the world, spanning centuries. And, of course, the building and its countless exhibits are a treat for the eyes.
Apart from displaying fans from the past, including an exceptionally rare embroidered number from around the Elizabethan period, The Fan Museum also works towards reviving the disappearing craft of fan-making. Workshops are frequently hosted and recent campaigns include a collaboration between street artists and a leading fan maker.
The first floor has changing exhibitions. Until the 23rd of September, A Bird In The Hand showcases all things feathery ranging from the museum’s oldest item - a Peruvian fan circa 10-11th century with moulted and dyed macaw feathers - to the decadence of a game bird ensemble previously owned by a 20th century Lido showgirl.
With its passion for beauty, detail and preservation, The Fan Museum embodies the spirit of historical Greenwich, that locals and visitors love, combined with a touch of glamour.