2 July 2011 – 26 February 2012

When re-told to children, fairy tales often assume an air of innocence. Good always triumphs over evil, heroes are selfless and love is everlasting. Some fairy tales however, explore the darker side of a child’s imaginary landscape.

For The Stuff of Nightmares, the Museum’s Front Room Gallery was transformed into a sinister forest where anything might happen, the dark setting for a re-telling of The Brothers Grimm’s Fundevogel, a tale of abduction, fear, evil old women, revenge and ultimately, friendship.

The installation, made by local schoolchildren working with artists, sat alongside work by Katherine Tulloh, Ruth Weinberg, Daniel Bell and Sharon Brindle, which took a closer look at the playthings of innocents.

The display included a ‘police line-up’ which showcased some of the more sinister toys in the collection.

Sixty Year 4 pupils from Cayley Primary School took part in three days of artist-led sessions, creating flora and fauna for the forest installation. Twenty-six Year 9 pupils from Morpeth Secondary School visited the Museum as initial research before taking part in after school art sessions in ‘nightmarish toymaking’.