What was your most memorable cultural experience when you were young and how has it stayed with you?
Below is a sample of your inspiring examples of the power of cultural learning. Please see the menu on the right for more videos and stories.
Ashley Walters, Musician & ActorAshley Walters, Musician & Actor
The whole experience left a big impression
Jean M. Franczyk, National Museums of Science & Industry
My local public library is what opened up the world for me. It’s where I fell in love with books and with reading. We took weekly trips there when I was a little girl and I’d leave loaded up with as many books as I could carry. I had my own library card, which, when held in my little-girl hands, made me feel grown-up and sophisticated. From the South Side of Chicago, that card and that library let me go anywhere – back in time through the Little House books or forward through A Wrinkle in Time. It set me on my way and seeded a love for reading that runs deep within me.
Sue Wilkinson, Museums, Libraries & Archives Council
As a young child my most important cultural experience was being taken to the library twice a week. Books were a route into different worlds. I was particularly entranced by a series of books on the childhood of famous people – the young Elizabeth Barratt Browning; the young Elizabeth Fry. Drawn from diaries and memoirs they gave a surprisingly accurate (I discovered later) account of the childhoods of famous women – and it was only the women I was interested in. I think they showed me that the world I was growing up in was not necessarily the world I had to stay in for the whole of my life. I knew from a very young age that I wanted something more than seemed to be on offer in the town in which I lived – books and collections helped me to understand more about what I wanted and how to get it.
Lesley Butterworth, NSEAD
I grew up in Newcastle Upon Tyne. My mother used to take me regularly to the Hatton Gallery and the Laing Art Gallery when I was very young, before I went to school. At the Hatton Gallery I would sit in front of Kurt Schwitters' Merzbarn. There was an egg shaped form that I especially liked. It puzzled and amused me. At the Laing I can remember paintings by John Martin and Willian Holman Hunt. I used to make up stories about them when I got home. I have lots of early memories about fabric, one aunt had a heavy velvet tablecloth with a fringe that could be plaited and tangled up. My grandmother embroidered flowers onto white cotton curtains. I had a 'best' frock with french smocking on the front and a wide sash. I cried bitterly when I outgrew it. It remains today the best dress I ever had!