Sunday, May 18, 2014
Day 5 Free Day!
Day 5, we had a day off, so I did nothing, funny concept ain’t it? No, I did things but I slept in. What I did do, I wondered through the British Museum. There I saw things from Ancient Egypt, the Natives of the Northwest, and by the I mean British Colombia Canada, Ancient Greece, Rome, China, Mesopotamia, including some items from the place with my favorite name, Ur. The most famous thing I saw here was the Rosetta stone. I also saw other items from Sphinx, not the Coliseum, but from other areas in both Rome and Greece, tools, writings in various languages totem poles and other old items. I also got an idea of why British museums tend to do so well. 1, most of them are free. Why is that important? Broke travelers or bored locals love free things. 2. We need more touchable items. The Rosetta stone is in a glass case, and I cannot blame them for that, but, they also have a replica of the Rosetta that has a sign on it, that says please touch. The concept of being able to touch something like that, even if it is a replica is exciting, it also becomes for kid friendly, and also probably a better experience for the blind. 3. This one shocked me after all of the museums I have been to in the states, but many items sat there, or where hung without barricades. As I already said the Rosetta stone was behind glass, and so where other items, some items where behind railings, others had velvet ropes, with that said, I would estimate nearly ½ of the items were sitting there without any form of barricade or protection. That is excluding the staff, alarms, and security cameras, and they are concealing the cameras as time goes on. With that said, you do not know, or care about that when you are looking at the item. All you know if you are staring face to face with history, and that you can get very close to it. As mentioned earlier these museums are free, but they accept donations, and have the inevitable overpriced gift shop.
I then started to make my way to Buckingham Palace, but I made an unexpected stop along the way. I found blocks away from Green Park (which boarders the palace to the north) the National Portrait Gallery. Quick side note, as this trip is both Criminal Justice related as well as cultural, we are required to stop at a history museum, art museum, and a park, this is my last item on that list. I was actually excited for the British Museum since I like history, not so much for the portrait gallery, since I am not a huge art fan. Then I got to the gallery, I am still not a huge art fan, but it turned out to be better than I thought it would be. I walked in made a right, and I was in their WWI exhibit. They did more than showed portraits of the heads of states involved and the soldiers who fought them also told the story of the war. Towards the end of the exhibit they showed some of the more important faces. They showed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination was what got the ball rolling towards war 100 years ago next month, I do not recall the name, but the next portrait was of one of Ferdinand’s relatives, whose son’s death and the death of both of his nephews put Ferdinand next on the list to inherent the throne, until the assassination happened. I then check out a few other exhibits, and then I checked out Buckingham Palace, and then I called it a day.