Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The Codename V Museum Review: Part Two
In which it is highly recommended that you visit The British Museum.

The third museum we visited was The British Museum. This place is vast - I can't stress that enough. We thought we'd be able to see the highlights in a day, but we ended up going back a second time. The exhibits here are spectacular. Genuinely priceless, rare, once-in-a-lifetime kind of stuff.

Highlights: practically everything here. This is going to take a while. I'll begin by listing the exhibits that I personally felt most affected by and impressed with.

OMG y'all, they have The Rosetta Stone. It's in a big glass case, and I stood there for ages just in awe of it. Like, slack-jawed awe. It drew a pretty big crowd, too... at any given time there were at least 30 people grouped around, gaping in slack-jawed awe. I made M take my photo next to it. I'm lame that way.

OMG again y'all, they have The Elgin Marbles. Follow these wikipedia links, kids. They have photos and know more about history than I do. Anyway, yeah... stuff from the Parthenon. It's hard to explain the emotions you get looking at things like this. They're older than I can really wrap my head around. They're elegant. They're part of a civilization that we can only read about or imagine. I mean, I only know the Parthenon as a ruin, but looking at this, it clicked for me. I could better visualize what it would have been like.

An aside: while we were in the big Elgin Marbles room (which took us at least 90 minutes to fully absorb), a group of about 40 Japanese buisnessmen came in. They all kind of flocked rapidly to one corner of the room, took one photograph, and rapidly flocked back out again. M reckons they just knew exactly what they wanted to see.

Double OMG OMG y'all, they had some stuff from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. One of the seven ancient wonders, people. There were a couple of massive statues of a man and a woman, and a fragment from another massive statue of a horse. The horse fragment was my absolute favorite thing in the museum. A couple of times, when I just needed a break from walking around, I went into that room and just sat under the horse sculpture in slack-jawed awe. Here, I found a picture of it. You don't get a proper sense of perspective from that photo, but I'd guess it's around 20 feet tall. That metal stuff around its head is part of a bridle.

Another super awesome thing, this one room had an entire Greek temple inside of it. The same website that had the photo of the horse also has a photo of that temple. Thanks, photo person.

There's no possible way I can list everything we saw. Name something you'd expect to see in a great museum, and we saw it. We saw a chunk from the Sphinx. We saw loads and loads of Egyptian sculptures. We saw mummies. We saw Viking stuff, Roman stuff. We saw a particularly enchanting sculpture of Venus. We saw some crude sculptures that were 4000 years old. 4000 years, get your brain around that.

Seriously, if you ever have a chance in your life to visit this museum, you should do it. I would consider it a moral imperative. How can things like this exist in the world, and yet some people don't really care.

So yeah, highlights: the whole place.

Low point: this place was full of kids on school trips. I know you can't really escape that kind of thing in big museums, but I'm talking about hundreds of kids all over the place all the time, and they were very badly behaved. They were running around touching things and leaning on things, and their teachers did nothing to correct their behavior. It was very difficult at times to fully appreciate things when you have herds of miscreant youth pushing and shoving and running around and shouting. M and I observed that they really ought to have an adults-only day.

The other low point: their snack bar is heinously over priced. £2 for a 16-ounce bottle of Sprite. By far the most expensive of the museums we visited.

I give this four out of four. I would definitely go back many times.