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.
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.
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.
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.