A peek inside the Novium Museum, Chichester.

The Novium is clearly no ordinary museum.

Firstly the exhibit which welcomes you was there all along – the museum coming to the Roman Bath House rather than it being moved.

As a result it gives you a real sense of connection – as the history now at our finger tips was once under our feet.

While the building itself has raised eyebrows with it’s stark, modern form.

I can’t help but think the simplicity of its straight links and blank appearance helps the Novium do what all good museums do best – show off what’s inside rather than be the main attraction themselves.

Architect Keith Williams is clearly proud of the building – and he should be. As the attention to detail and consideration of the surroundings shines through.

Be it at the Cathedral window which offers spectacular views or in the stairwell where glass panels let you get a bird’s eye view of the Roman Bath’s remains below.


But my favourite feature is that the artefacts are arranged by theme rather than by time period.
This means you are faced with cases which allow you to time-travel through the ages.

A 19th century cooker stands proud next to ancient clay pots on the first floor where focus is on “Place.”

While a walk around the cube of curious items, with each side showing a different area, will bring you to a lead coffin from Westgate which dates back to 4th century AD.

The second floor organises the items by emotion, from a mirror in the “Beauty” section which asks “Are you clean?” to a set of optician’s lenses in the “Creativity” case set under a suspended Penny Farthing.

The mixture means your attention is captured for much longer than if you were confronted with a room of broken vases.


And if this wasn’t enough there is also opportunities to get hands on with history.

With an array of helmets you can try on, chimney pots you can touch and a wealth of “Open Me” drawers bringing you closer to what is on show.


It may have been a few years since the Roman Bath House was found back in the 1970s but I can’t help but think it was well worth the wait. 

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