Wednesday, May 23 , 2018, 5:29 pm | Overcast 62º


Westmont Loans Wardrobe to Traveling ‘Narnia’ Exhibit

The college acquired the treasure 34 years ago from C.S. Lewis’ Oxford home.


Westmont College’s famed C.S. Lewis wardrobe will take a five-year journey with “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Exhibition,” a state-of-the-art presentation based on the Disney film series and Lewis’ beloved fictional books.

The exhibit, premiering June 7 at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix, features artifacts from Lewis’ personal study as well as the wardrobe.

The 10,000-square-foot educational exhibit escorts guests on a tour of myth, magic and adventure through iconic environments such as the famous attic and wardrobe that served as the portal into the Narnia adventures. It includes authentic costumes, props and set dressings from the films portraying the literary fantasy world of Narnia.

In 1974, Distinguished Professor Emeritus Arthur Lynip and 30 Westmont students studying literature in England learned that the historic wardrobe was still at The Kilns, C.S. Lewis’ Oxford home.  The last remaining piece of Lewis’ furniture in the house closely matches the description in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe of a wardrobe that is “big,” “perfectly ordinary” and “has a looking-glass in the door."

The unusual size of the wardrobe explains it having been left in The Kilns. After the house was remodeled, the 1901 wardrobe was too big to remove from its upstairs room without taking it apart piece by piece. As a result, the wardrobe was not auctioned with Lewis’ other belongings and seemed destined to be destroyed until Westmont students learned of its existence. Students purchased the wardrobe sight unseen from the new owner of The Kilns, and Lynip engaged a cabinetmaker to dismantle the wardrobe, crate it and ship it to Westmont College.

The college, which has displayed this treasure for 34 years in its English Department offices, has loaned it to the five-year traveling exhibit. After viewing the wardrobe and other Lewis artifacts, guests will pass through a portal into a wintry Narnian world, complete with falling snow and cold wind. The tour continues through the White Witch’s ice palace, Cair Paravel and additional displays and environments from upcoming films.

In October, the exhibit will move to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. It is expected to visit about a dozen venues during the next five years, including two or three stops overseas.

The exhibit coincides with the opening of the film The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. More than 500 Westmont alumni and their families watched two private screenings of the film Saturday in Santa   Barbara’s Paseo Nuevo Theater.

Click here for more information about the exhibition.

Scott Craig is Westmont College‘s media relations manager.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >