London 2013: The British Museum (Part One)

On Thursday morning, September 26th we took the Central Line to Tottenham Court Road Station and walked four blocks through London’s Bloomsbury neighborhood to the British Museum, rated by some as the finest museum in the entire world, mainly because of all the art objects collected from different civilizations all over the world. It’s also rated by some as the worst museum in the world because of the claims that a lot of these treasured art objects were stolen from other countries when the British Empire stretched all over the world. We’ll get to this controversy in a future posting but for now we’ll cover what we saw during our two-hour visit that Thursday morning.

The British Museum main entrance on Great Russell Street.

The British Museum main entrance on Great Russell Street.

For our museum trip we brought along Rick Steves’ Pocket Guide to London. Rick told us to veer left after going through the main entrance and enter room 4 half way down the Great Court to see the Rosetta Stone. Well, we were not the only ones following Steves that day because it seemed that half of London was congregating around the Stone — men, women and even children elbowing their way closer and closer to get a good picture or even just a good look.  And you really couldn’t get a good picture anyway because of all the reflective glass around.

The Rosetta Stone.

The Rosetta Stone.

Why the Rosetta Stone is so important to our understanding of  ancient Egypt.

Why the Rosetta Stone is so important to our understanding of ancient Egypt.

Gazing at an Egyptian god.

Gazing at an Egyptian god.

We made our way through all of the rooms devoted to ancient Egypt and then through more rooms that displayed the glory of ancient Assyria. By the time we got to Bronze Age Greece the crowd had thinned out considerably. It picked up again, though, as we got closer and closer to the Elgin Marbles.

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An example of  an art object display along with a detailed explanation.

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Twin winged lions guard the entrance to the rooms devoted to the ancient Assyrian civilization.

Twin winged lions guard the entrance to the rooms devoted to the ancient Assyrian civilization.

Assyrian gods were half-bird and half-human.

Assyrian gods were half-bird and half-human.

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In the 7th century before Christ the Athenians painted black figures on vases made from red clay.

In the 7th century before Christ the Athenians painted black figures on vases made from red clay.

Around 500 BC they started painting red figures on black and the Athenian culture went up a notch.

Around 500 BC they started painting red figures on black and the Athenian culture went up a notch.

This is the first of five postings on the British Museum. Tomorrow we’ll cover what we saw in the rooms devoted to Greco-Roman sculptures and to the Nereid treasures just before the Elgin Marbles. Then we will have two postings just on the Elgin Marbles. My fifth and last posting will be about what else we found in the museum.

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About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
This entry was posted in Art, History, London, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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