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“Free and fascinating”
Review of The Novium

The Novium
Ranked #21 of 42 things to do in Chichester
Attraction details
Reviewed December 8, 2014

hundreds of interesting exhibits including the bosham head and my personal favourites selsey tram menorabillia. also free entry recently introduced. what's not to like! also very near the cathedral and city walls if you want to explore even more history

3  Thank GeoffreyHedges58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 6, 2014

At first I was perplexed, then astounded, then confused and then in stitches. I have very rarely laughed in a serious museum, except perhaps as a schoolboy looking at something phallic, on a school trip, egged on by my friends. But at the Novium, I believe, we have found an avant-garde comedy installation, in Chi...

The first floor features a very large shop selling the ubiquitous tat that seems to have pervaded every museum and country house across our land. Tea towels, key fobs, pencils - the sort of stuff that you would be disappointed in receiving from a Christmas cracker. There's a small excavation of a hypercaust and a few tabards about the Spanish Civil War - so onto the next floor - please take care to avoid the buckets and bowls, collecting dripping water.

Next floor, a time line of Chichester and some social history pieces ie. roll out Shippams paste jars and bottles - but please remember to take care to avoid the buckets and bowls.

Next area closed, you guessed it, leaks and also scaffolding obscuring the viewing platform across to Chichester Cathedral. Suggestion - if you want a really good view of the cathedral, can I recommend - the cathedral. What you've actually got here is a rather large obscured, leaking window - groundbreaking - watch out the Natural History Museum, V & A and the Hunterian... no ones going to visit you anymore.

Last floor, no really it really is the last floor because we checked. A coffin cart, stocks, a few bits and pieces - like a 1970s tennis racquet - I believe 'Slazenger Royal Crown' with which I used to pretend I was John McEnroe, at school - and no not this actual racquet. A dressing up area for WW1 hats, copies of course, that was inspirational, it really gave us an idea of how awful the trenches must have been, in this its centenary year, an itchy hat.

I was so shocked by it all that I actually walked out speechless, but then came back to check that we hadn't missed something with the lady at reception. She then kindly reiterated the areas I already told her we'd seen, teasing us, for a moment, by saying that there was another area, but then after going through it all again, she concluded: 'No, that is actually it, you've seen everything.'

Wow! How much did they spend/waste on this place? And people are saying it used to be worse, incredible and also inconceivable. The Romans would have thrown the building contractors into the arena, with their hands tied, to fight tigers over the standards of construction here - give it this coming winter and we'll have a new Roman Baths, again, in town, for the first time in nearly 2000 years...

Seriously, if you have a huge budget and no exhibits - spend some of the money on something to fill the space, or put the items you have in a smaller, cheaper building or, failing that, put the money to a worthwhile use... say the hospital or a homeless shelter - too political, I know. Maybe we could all take in an item, like we used to for Harvest Festival at school - maybe a jar of Shippams... damn!

AND THEY USED TO CHARGE PEOPLE TO VISIT? THE AUDACITY!

Don't get me wrong, we're going back , I mean now that we know what to expect - well it's just such a blast. Although, even then, they're going to have to change the gags occasionally.

My only suggestions are renaming it, either:

My Grandad's Shed (or anyone else's for that matter)
or
Chichester Comedy Club - we're just missing the late Frankie Howard, in either of the proposed scenarios - Oh no, missus... titter ye not.

One last thing - so hard to find, especially for out of towners - even the Romans would have struggled and then where would we be - one less exhibit. It' s almost as if CDC is, oh I don't know, embarrassed by it.

22  Thank McDuffStuff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2014

I first visited Novium when it opened and was very disappointed. As it is now a free entry attraction I thought I would give it another try. The initial impression on entering the building is quite promising as one views the remains of a Roman bath house. However the effect is somewhat spoilt by strange sound effect music which plays in the background. The animation that is projected onto the ruins is also rather distracting. There were some quite interesting display panels about the Spanish Civil War parked on the ground floor but they seemed rather out of context. No attempt at displaying any local connections or making any links with the wonderful Spanish Civil War exhibition at the nearby Pallant House Gallery.

The first floor houses a display entitled Time and Place which attempts to give some chronology to the history of Chichester, The 2nd floor is a random collection of artefacts arranged according to abstract themes such as Sorrow, Joy and Creativity. Musical instruments sit next to pieces of pottery.

The whole thing could be a contender for the Turner Prize. At times one feels that this is a joke that one needs to have explained. The building and its exhibits must have cost millions but one is left in a state of confusion - what is it supposed to be about?. It certainly did not explain to me anything about the history of Chichester. I really feel the building should be given to Pallant House to enable them to have more exhibitions and show more of their collection. Then Chichester would have 2 world class art galleries instead of Pallant House and the white elephant that is the Novium.
.

2  Thank MYDOGISFINN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2014

LOCATION The Novium Museum is found in Tower Street, a road opposite The Cathedral in West Street, Chichester
LIFT The biggest I have ever been in. It can carry 38 people !
TOILETS including DISABLED PRICE Free entry GIFT SHOP
WHEELCHAIR FRIENDLY Very spacious on all 3 floors
EXCAVATED ROMAN BATHS and a whole lot more
DRINKS VENDING MACHINE and seating area
The main collection of Artifacts is cleverly divided into different Categories held in big Glass Cabinets. PHOTOGRAPHY allowed NOT using flash. I read that on the leaflet on the Bus home......whoops ! I guess too much light is not good for the exhibits.
While we were there Father Christmas arrived at his Grotto. He was there today 27th November and also on on 4th 11th and 18th December between 4 – 8 pm
CHRISTMAS POSTBOX for letters to Father Christmas if he is not there
CHICHESTER TOURIST INFORMATION DESK is on the ground floor
We enjoyed our visit and will definitely go back as a few hours was not long enough to see everything. There is so much to see and read. There is a lot of information about some of the Artifacts on their website. It was wonderful seeing the old photos of Chichester showing buildings that we can still see today. Thank you to the people who have produced The Novium. It's wonderful.
A few photos attached ( 27 th November 2014 )

6  Thank HappymouseWestSussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 24, 2014

My previous visit was extremely disappointing, and the high entry fee deterred me from re-visiting. However, at long last sense has prevailed & the museum has been made free (just like the old one).
Quite a few changes have been made since I last went round, & all for the better. I was particularly pleased to see that the museum now has wall projection to explain how the Roman Baths worked, & a construction model for the kids to play with.
All that is needed now is to have the word 'Museum' added to its title, so that tourists can recognize it immediately.

2  Thank Frank S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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