Saturday, 16 November 2013

London Life: The British Museum

I recently posted about my trip to the Natural History Museum. Well, that week in London was filled with culture, as two days later we ventured out to another of the city’s landmarks, the British Museum. This was one attraction I’d never been to before. It seemed oddly out-of-the-way to most other places and to be honest I completely forgot about it until that morning my boyfriend suggested it might make a nice day out.

In the morning, we headed out slightly later than planned for brunch. This is a story I will blog about later, as I have another little review to write! However, once we’d finally eaten we headed to the British Museum and the view, as you can imagine, delighted me!

I love big, archaic and impressive buildings and this came a close second to the Natural History Museum. The exterior matched the interior, and before I’d even entered the museum I felt as though there were some impressive artefacts to be seen!

I loved the central area of the building, which greeted me as I walked through the door. My little iPhone camera (it’s all I’ve got at the moment!) doesn’t do it justice at all! Fortunately it was a fairly nice day; a little cloudy, but the sunshine made an appearance, which made the ‘inner sanctum’ of the museum nice and light and airy. It was, needless to say, impressive.

Firstly, we headed to the Ancient Egyptian section. We knew we wouldn’t have time to see the whole place and so chose eras which we knew would interest us the most. Here we were able to see various statues, hieroglyphic slabs and even the legendary Rosetta Stone. It was surreal to be so close to so many ancient objects – all so far away from their original home.

We then moved onto the Greeks, which was equally as exciting – the statues which were presented to us were stunning and the scale was incredibly impressive. What made it more unbelievable was the acute attention to detail for every single piece. We noted this when we were looking at the feet of one particular statue, and couldn’t believe how realistic each muscle curve, joint and even toenail was. I thought about how, today, we’d never be able to produce anything quite like this. The skill of masonry and art on this scale has been bypassed with a more modern style, and this is what makes the ancient worlds of the Greeks and Romans even more impressive.

Moving on, we glimpsed golden shields from the Bronze Age, thousands of coins and stamps carved from gemstones, and pots which looked as though they could have been made just yesterday. I was eager to see the Mummy room. This somewhat morbid interest was realised but, as we moved around the room, I watched tourists taking photographs of the corpses and mummified bodies. I was struck at how bizarre it is; to place what was once a human being behind glass. It interests me, yes, but I couldn’t bear to take photographs. I felt as though some respect should be shown, though I understand that looking at them in the first place may contradict that slightly. It was fascinating, though, no matter how many thousands of years ago it was. It emphasised how humans have always grieved. With early coffins on display as well, I really felt quite sad.

After many hours wandering around artefacts, we decided that our legs were starting to ache and that our stomachs were grumbling, and headed home. I had a great time though and would love to go back for a second look, or maybe to see a special exhibition.

If you haven’t been to the British Museum before, it really is very interesting. I really love history and culture and it was a lovely day out, especially with the rainy weather.  I would warn you, however, that there is a lot to see – so don’t push it! Take it easy, and take it all in.


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