– Or Please Don’t Actually Touch That. It’s Historically Relevant –
This is the announcement that I am studying abroad in England. You’re welcome for the update.
I went into the British Museum today with one goal: Find the Native American Buckskin Map they have on display and…view it, I guess. I was with A and his girlfriend, L. They were looking for the Elgin Marbles and something in the African exhibit, respectively.
So, I was going to go in, not be distracted by the other displays, and….oh, is that a mummy?
The British Museum is unlike any history museum I have ever set foot in. We walked into the exhibit on ancient Greece and Rome and were staring down statues of Hadrian, the Roman emperor. Right there. No glass case or anything. I could have touched Hadrian’s face.
(I didn’t, obviously. Incidentally, Hadrian was naked in his bust, which was done in the Greek style, to portray himself as an Epic Hero – god-like.)
There is no feeling in the world quite like standing next to a marble bust of a Roman emperor…except Being In Rome, of course, and experiencing Rome’s history in it’s own country.
(I have nothing against the British Museum, but I do like to acknowledge that they took a lot of things that aren’t theirs and refuse to give them back.)
That aside leads me to my next point – the Elgin Marbles. The hall where the Elgin Marbles are held is called ‘The Parthenon,’ so named because all of the marble carvings in that hall are from the Parthenon. But before that, is the Lykia Neriod tomb. And before that is a hall of Persian stone carvings and Egyptian statues, along with the Rosetta Stone.
Let me repeat that: The Rosetta Stone. I nearly cried. I definitely stood with my mouth agape for several minutes trying to comprehend the amount of history in that one set of hallways (spoiler: I could not comprehend it).
We saw the statues from the top of the Parthenon in person. I saw those things in slideshows and now I’ve seen them in person. And I plan to see them again.
We eventually found our way to the section dedicated to North American indigenous peoples (which was a lovely exhibit), but the galleries began to close soon after. I never did see the Buckskin map.