OPP Day 8 -Windsor Castle

Today was a pretty intense day. Apart from around five hours of driving around the lower part of England, we stopped at both the Jane Austen House and Windsor Castle. This post will focus solely on Windsor Castle. Here we listened to a talk by one of the Royal Library curators, Elizabeth Clark Ashby. She presented on the new exhibition titled Shakespeare in the Royal Library. It was a fantastic talk that explored so many elements of exhibition design.

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British Library

I am currently en route to Bath in a quiet carriage that is anything but quiet. Although the programme doesn’t start until tomorrow night, I wanted a couple of days in Bath to relax beforehand and visit some more museums. Since I have some spare time I thought I’d write a little blog post on the British Library. I visited the library post-Museum of London with the intention of seeing a Punk Music exhibition. It was interesting, but, I really want to write about the Sir John Rittblat Gallery: Treasures of the British Library.

I have to admit I only went into the gallery because I could feel how amazing the air conditioning was inside. It was a hot day so don’t judge. Anyway, I was very glad, well extremely glad, to have walked in because the gallery contains some of the most incredible paper-based objects I have ever seen. If you like music, history, sacred texts, maps, or beautiful art then there is guaranteed to be something in the gallery that gives you goosebumps.Read More »

Museum of London

I have to say, above all else, the Museum of London had some amazing staff on the floor today! First thing I did when I arrived was go to the information counter to buy a map. The staff member there was so helpful and friendly and told me all about the free tours that were happening throughout the day. Since I am still a bit jet lagged, I thought going on a tour was a smart move! I am going to divide this post into three sections – an overview of the museum, the tour of the City Gallery, and highlights from the rest of the museum.

The museum consists of nine permanent galleries that trace the history of London from prehistoric times to 2012. Combined, they tell an overall narrative with each individual gallery adding its own stories. The top level deals with prehistory to roughly the 1660s. There is little opportunity to choose your own path with each section leading on to the next. In saying this, having to walk through a couple of galleries that I didn’t plan on spending too much time in (prehistory and Roman) meant I saw some amazing objects. The recreated Roman dressing table with make up tools in particular was amazing and I am so glad I saw it! The ground floor has the more modern-era exhibitions and, unlike the top floor, there is a little more freedom to walk around. Obviously there was a lot of information to consume during one visit, but, I did the best I could!Read More »

The British Museum

Today was an incredible day spent at the British Museum. Our visit lasted well over two hours as we toured every collection; some of them in depth. The audio guide was pretty great in guiding us around some of the larger sections. For example, it helped us navigate the overwhelming Egyptian collection by pointing out a few highlights. As I remembered the Egyptian and Roman sections particularly well from last visits we decided to spend a bit more time in a collection close to my heart – the Mexican collection.

I was so excited to see what they had on display! The audio guide did not have a general tour of this room but there were lots of objects you could hear descriptions about. Seeing the pottery heads they decided to display was fantastic. It was also nice to be able to classify what I could see. The label for the heads simply read: Mexican pottery heads – also something about their headdresses indicating rank etc. It felt the best kind of nerdy being able to actually say well this one means this and this one means this and so on. There were also some pretty cool stone slabs from the Mayan period that took me right back to what I had seen in Mexico earlier this year.Read More »

Victoria and Albert Museum & Hunterian Museum

Today we tied up our walking shoes and set our sights on two very different but very marvellous museums. We began with the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). Built on the site that the Crystal Palace (1851) once stood this museum is a gem from the entrance to the gift shop. There is just so much to see in this museum my main piece of advice is to grab a map!

Since we were on the ground floor and since I have no patience, we rushed straight to the fashion collection. They have some absolutely stunning pieces on display. I just wish there was more for the public to see. It was very teasing! My favourite piece was this corset from the nineteenth-century. It is so beautifully embroidered and manufactured. Some of the other pieces of under garments travelled out to Brisbane for the “Undressed” exhibit. It is incredibly fascinating to see how the ideal body shape has been achieved throughout time with the use of bits and bobs to restrict and mould.Read More »

The Old Operating Theatre

The last couple of days have been filled to the absolute brim. I will try to combine them in one post. So yesterday being Monday, not a lot of museums were open in London. I was so lucky to get the chance to meet the curator of the Americas and Oceania objects for the British Museum! She was lovely and answered every question I could possibly have on Mexican pottery. I saw a few of the examples they had in their collection which meant going behind the scenes and checking out how they store the items and what cataloguing system they have developed. Needless to say I was in my own little museum heaven. I don’t want to publish the photographs I took due to copyright etc but I did sketch the ones I saw. Brace yourselves for the next Van Gogh…Read More »