News | Events & Exhibitions | Manifesto | About the Museum
Become a Friend | Souvenirs | Contact | The Museum Recommends...


Making Mischief, Compton Verney, Warwickshire

Making Mischief: Folk Costume in Britain is the first exhibition dedicated to the rich tapestry of folk customs found in the UK today. It will explore the central role played by costume in local and seasonal folk customs, bringing together over 40 costumes created, customised and worn by individual practitioners, many of which have never been exhibited before. Making Mischief is both a celebration of grassroots traditions and a challenge to preconceptions about folk customs being fixed and nostalgic. It will highlight evolving practices such as the rise of all-female Morris groups and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ performers in customs such as the Hastings Jack in the Green. Loans from the Museum of British Folklore, the English Folk Dance and Song Society and the English Folk Costume Archive will be used alongside works from Compton Verney’s collection to trace the origins of folk costume in Britain across several centuries. The exhibition also highlights how strong concerns for and connections with the environment and natural world are across these very different communities. Curated by Simon Costin and Mellany Robinson, of the Museum of British Folklore, and Professor Amy De La Haye, Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Dress History & Curatorship and Joint Director of the Research Centre for Fashion Curation at London College of Fashion, UAL, in collaboration with Compton Verney. The exhibition and an ambitious public programme of workshops, talks and new commissions is generously supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


Ritual Britain at the Crypt Gallery, London

Exhibition dates: 1st June – 4th July 2021 at The Crypt, London
A collaborative exhibition with Ben Edge

Ben Edge has been researching, documenting and painting British folklore since 2015. Ben and MoBF have a shared passion for the tales and customs of the British Isles and together they have devised a joint exhibition to showcase Ben’s artworks and selected objects from the MoBF collection.

Ritual Britain will feature Ben Edge’s painting series Frontline Folklore, directly inspired by the variety of rituals and ceremonies observed on his travels up and down the British Isles. Objects on display from the Museum of British Folklore collection will include costumes; archive film footage and a selection of ‘Morris Folk’ dolls.
The exhibition will reflect the traditions taking place in Britain today and how they are evolving within contemporary society. Accompanied by a series of film showings and talks, Ritual Britain will consider folklore’s value and role in modern life.


Entry to the exhibition is free and for details please visit -




THE MAIDEN, THE NECK AND THE MARE Harvest Traditions and Beliefs

Weald and Downland Museum
14th October 2019 – 20th January 2020

The inaugural exhibition at the Weald and Downland’s dedicated temporary exhibition space, this was MoBF’s second outing to the venue, following on from our Morris Folk exhibition of 2016.

We were thrilled to be invited back to show our collection of corn dollies, recently expanded following the generous donation of Christina Best’s entire personal collection of corn dollies and straw work to MoBF.

This was augmented by pieces made by longtime MoBF supporter, Gillian Nott and the Weald and Downlands’ Verna Bailey, who ran workshops in the exhibition space . Loans from artists Matthew Rowe and Matthew Cowan were also included, as examples of straw work’s influence on contemporary art and craft.

The exhibition programme featured a talk by Simon Costin and Mellany Robinson about the origins, methods and meaning of corn-dolly making in folk customs and rural craft.









WAKING THE GIANT 29th February 2020

On a rainy, bitterly cold day earlier this year, nearly 2000 people made their way up to the highest point in Dover, within sight of Dover Castle but secreted on the Downs. Fort Burgoyne has long been a place known locally but mainly only through hearsay or distant memories of teenage trespass when the fort was abandoned.

Since 2014, the site has been under the guardianship of the Land Trust, who have been in the process of renovating the building with a dedicated team of volunteers. In 2019, The Land Trust and Pioneering Places East Kent appointed Albion Incorporated to undertake a Year of Engagement: imagining the possible future use of the site through speaking with local people, artists and education providers to sketch out what a community-led space might look like.

The Museum of British Folklore’s Simon Costin recently purchased a property in Dover and Fort Burgoyne was brought to his attention by Peter Cocks, who invited the MoBF team to visit the site in 2019.

This meeting marked the beginning of a collaboration with Albion Incorporated culminating in ‘Waking The Giant’ – an open day curated by Simon Costin and Mellany Robinson of MoBF.
The concept was based upon the mythical ‘sleeping giant of Dover’ and its link to the European Giant Festivals originating in the 14th century, along with broader ‘sleeping giant’ myths (with a dash of Alan Garner). Using sources ranging from Michael Drayton’s Poly-Olbion of 1612, to the WWII ‘ghillie’ suit designs of Roland Penrose, the whole team collaborated to reimagine the site’s history and future. An accompanying guide to the day was also produced by MoBF, designed by Dust with photographs by Matthew Rowe.
The day combined art, craft and folklore and featured films by the artist in residence, Matthew Rowe; performance art from Robert George Sanders; live pottery firing by Future Foundry and Ceramic Art Dover; pottery with Keith Brymer Jones; blacksmithing; willow basket making and a dedicated Waking the Giant project by the MA students from Central St. Martin’s ‘Narrative Environments’ course. We also got to showcase MoBF’s giant Punch and Judy…
The event was a huge success with positive feedback from the visitors and event team and we hope to collaborate together on future happenings.









Farmland Museum and Denny Abbey Exhibition

The Museum of British Folklore MORRIS FOLK project

In 2013, Simon Costin, the Director of the Museum of British Folklore, had an idea to document the hundreds of morris sides currently active in Britain by replicating their distinctive costumes. He sent out a call to them via Morris Folk is a kind of 3D archive: a detailed copy of morris costumes made by the practitioners themselves.

To make the process easier and to allow the characteristics of the costumes to be highlighted, a plain cloth doll was commissioned. The doll has no features, allowing makers the freedom to embellish it as they see fit. Enabling contributors to have complete artistic expression ensures that the project is truly collaborative, with the resulting dolls being an accurate representation of their respective sides. The completed dolls have been made with amazing attention to detail: from the inclusion of human hair, to miniature buttons and accessories.

To date, the Museum of British Folklore now has over 273 completed dolls and they have been exhibited in London, Oxford, Sussex, Warwickshire and now, in Cambridgeshire.

If you are a morris side who would like to participate in the project, please email the Museum of British Folklore:, so that we can send a doll to you.


We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who is involved with Morris Folk: the morris sides themselves, without whom, the project would not be possible and to the Farmland Museum and Denny Abbey for hosting this exhibition.

For more information and to support the Museum of British Folklore, which aims to be the first museum to celebrate and conserve Britain’s seasonal customs, please visit:


Morris Folk Exhibition opens in Oxford at OoU

From the 18th June - 8th July, we are showing 24 of our Morris Dolls at Objects of Use in Oxford. Running along one wall and in the window space will be a colourful selection of the figures on show. There will also be a screening of The Way of the Morris with the director, Tim Plester present to answer questions afterwards. Simon and Mellany from the MoBF will also be there, so do please come along and say hello. We look forward to seeing you there.



Morris Dolls at Compton Verney

There is now an exhibition of 45 of our Morris Dolls situated within the Folk Art galleries at Compton Verney. The exhibition will run until June 25th 2017.


Aelfgythe Boarder Morris



Pecsaetan Morris


Hunters Moon Morris

Other Events