In 1983 George Musgrave opened a museum dedicated to showcasing the life and times of… George Musgrave.
Narcissistic? Egotistical? Perhaps. On the other hand, the fact that Musgrave had the energy and dedication to construct, curate, and maintain a museum dedicated to his own accomplishments suggests an individual with a genuinely fascinating story to tell. Musgrave, a painter, sculptor, filmmaker, and author who died at the age of 97 in 2012, was indeed a colorful character, and his wall-to-wall collection is a testament to his diverse interests, prolific output, and unique perspective on life.
Several exhibits showcase Musgrave’s creative accomplishments; the Mini Sculptures Gallery includes original molds and models from the artist’s time designing toy figurines for Herald Miniatures, while the Diorama Gallery features a series of highly-detailed dioramas devoted to the changing seasons. A collection of Musgrave’s paintings is also on display, including those found in the St. Paul’s Gallery, which features a series of forty meticulously researched paintings depicting scenes from the life of St. Paul.
Other galleries are dedicated to Musgrave’s historical interests, displaying his extensive collection of rare coins and archeological artifacts. The “From the Caveman to the Computer” Gallery explores the history of written communication.
Prints of Musgrave’s paintings can be purchased at the museum gift shop, along with copies of his books, which vary widely in genre and subject matter.
The museum has inspired at least one fan to attempt to recreate parts of Musgrave’s astonishing collection. Those who can’t make it out to Eastbourne to view the original can get a taste of the project’s exhaustive curatorial effort by following the Musgrave Installation Project.