The Museum of Witchcraft & Magic
The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History
November 3rd 2017 - 28th Febuary 2018
Simon Costin & Viktor Wynd are delighted to present an exhibition at Viktor Wynd's London Museum dedicated to Cornwall’s most magical Museum. The exhibition will feature haunting photographs of haunted objects from Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic by Sara Hannant and Simon Costin and a bewildering mix of magical objects including a Witch Mirror, a waxen curse poppet, spells and charms and items from a Black Magicians altar.
Magic and Witchcraft have been with us since the dawn of time and belief in them is just as strong now as it ever was.
The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic has the largest and most remarkable collection of witchcraft-related objects and books in the world, focusing on an important aspect of British folk culture which has often been overlooked and misunderstood.
The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic was founded by Cecil Williamson and first opened in 1951 in Castletown, Isle of Man. After a business partnership with Gerald Gardner, the originator of Modern Wicca, ended, Williamson decided to move his museum to the mainland. After brief stays in Windsor and Bourton on the Water, the museum finally relocated to Boscastle, Cornwall in 1960.
Williamson’s original collection of artefacts can mainly be categorised as ‘folk magic’ – the original incarnation of the Museum was The Folklore Centre of Superstition and Witchcraft – and focused on the ways of the wise woman and cunning man but the museum also housed a wide variety of magical items from various areas of witchcraft and several tableaux, demonstrating ritualistic practice with a strong element of theatricality. The museum was, and continues to be, a popular tourist destination and place of pilgrimage for practitioners alike.
Over the years, through various gifts and acquisitions which made their way to the museum with their own stories to tell, the collection has grown to be the largest of its type in the world.
In 1996, Williamson sold the museum and contents to Graham King. He developed the museum into a successful independent business and during his time there, the museum acquired an international reputation.
King also saw the museum through a difficult time in its history. During the 2004 floods which badly affected Boscastle, the museum was substantially damaged. King and the museum team undertook an extensive clean-up operation to restore the museum to its former state and develop the museum into an important venue in Boscastle, which generates local interest and visits to the region. The museum is now an important part of the local economy with local B&Bs, hotels, restaurants and shops all benefiting from the visitors attracted to this rural area.
In October 2013, the museum and its collections were gifted to Simon Costin, the founder of the Museum of British Folklore, who is now the Museum of Witchcraft’s Director.