Last Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited to the press day for the new Chelsea FC Museum. Today the museum opens its doors to the public and after seeing what it has to offer I am sure that it will be a hit with Chelsea fans travelling to the Bridge from around the globe.

As my tour guide around the new museum I was very lucky to have Chelsea club historian Rick Glanvill who had a very important role in the museums creation, he has some amazing and interesting stories to tell. It is clear to see his passion and excitement for the project and club that he loves it still as prominent as ever.

The new museum located behind the Matthew Harding Stand has been two years in the making. It is now the largest football museum in London, covering 670sqm and with a brilliant combination of new and old around the 16 different exhibits.

If I had to have one word to describe the new museum, it would be ‘interactive’! There really is something for everyone and will be interesting whether you are a Chelsea fan or not.

Part of the interaction from this museum are the attractions which have been selected by Chelsea FC fans. They include ‘The Hall of Fame’ where fans were asked to vote for their favourite players on the Chelsea website, these included William Foulke, Peter Osgood, Ron Harris, Kerry Dixon, Gianfranco Zola and many more.
Zola came on top with the highest number to claim his place with over 1,700 fans choosing him as their most popular player.

‘The Greatest Games’ area also saw over 2000 fans vote online for their top non-trophy moment which span the decades.
In recognition of those of us fans who voted, you are able to see your name mentioned in the museum which is a really great touch and bring the fans to the history of the club.

Let me start at the beginning, the whole feel of the museum is very modern and new (although this could be down to the drying paint when I arrived!). When you enter the museum you are instantly met with interesting exhibits.

There is the option to buy an audio guide to accompany your visit, these are priced at £2 each or £3 for two. The guides will allow you to listen to however much information you would like to.

It is available in 5 languages to cater for the majority of international Chelsea fans.

The first exhibit is something that the kids (and most adults too) will enjoy for hours, a shooting gallery featuring specialist lighting and illuminated targets that let you to show off your football skills. As with most of the exhibits there is a fun element and also some information too. With this you will see a video introduction and tutorial from a member of the Chelsea Academy. I’m sure this will provide hours of entertainment for visitors.

Each area of the museum is colour-coded according to past Chelsea kits which add a really vibrant and interesting mood to the museum.

You can take as much or as little from each exhibit with the touch screen interaction or the information on the wall so this really will appeal to all. All the written information I found to be very clear and to the point. It is all well written and really captures your imagination.

A highlight of the whole museum for me was the 40-person seated theatre which shows a 8 minute match day film from a fan’s perspective, showing everything from the game preparation outside the stadium to the atmosphere within. As a regular to the bridge, it really brought back to me the buzz of the game and excitement of seeing Chelsea play. I am sure it will create a great experience for those visitors who are unable to see a game.

A first for the museum is the ‘Wear it with Pride’ exhibit showing a revolving display of iconic shirts. Fans can select a shirt from the touch screen menu, prompting the display to rotate and present the chosen shirt in front of you. Something again children and adults alike will be interested in for hours.

One of the final exhibits is ‘Pepper ghosts’ which see’s life-size holographic representations of legends Marcel Desailly & Ron Harris alongside life-long Chelsea fan Phil Daniels featuring in a special effects show. Unfortunately, this exhibit was not finished when I was there so I am really looking forward to seeing it on my next visit.

All this alongside a fascinating collection of Chelsea-related memorabilia, iconic images from Chelsea’s history, traditions, sights and sounds.

I was honoured to be part of the opening of this new and exciting museum and can’t wait to take my family members along to see if over the coming months as I am sure any fan of sport or history will be fascinated by this.

The club’s previous museum saw over 160,000 fans in 2010/11 and the new museum is expecting in excess of 200,000 visitor’s during 2011/12. From what I saw, visitors will want to come back again and again!

Tickets for the museum are priced at £10 for adults, £8 for children (under 16), £32 for a family (two adults and two children) and £9 for concessions. In my opinion this pricing is fantastic value for money for what could be a day out.

I hope you get to see the new museum soon and would love to hear your thoughts. I am sure everyone will come away smiling and having learnt something new about the club we all love!

With thanks to Rick Glanvill for sharing his knowledge and joy of the club and Publicasity for arranging the viewing for me and of course to Chelsea Football Club for continuing to be at the forefront of technology and media within sport.

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