I have to preface this by saying that I in no way managed to see everything at the British Museum in one day. If pressed, I think I got through about a third of the free exhibits/galleries/etc. in the handful of hours I spent there. So I’m sorry if I don’t discuss something of interest to a reader, I simply didn’t have the time to complete my tour of the famous institution before I had to leave for Cardiff today for tea and lunch with an amazing friend of mine.
That said, let’s get into it shall we?
The British Museum is a landmark institution supported by donors of all shapes and sizes from those donating a single pound to hundreds of thousands of pounds out of their pockets each year. It is immense. Both in size and in the scope of subjects, topics, and exhibits that are all on display and free to the public to enjoy.
My first impression, after maneuvering through to where I had to start my day: Egypt, was one of feeling quite small and humble in comparison to the works and monuments that tower over head or stand on pillars. In the Assyrian and Egyptian wings in particular I was left with a sense of having the ghosts of the past walking in step, behind, and before me as I took and soaked in the wonders that they created from towering sculptures to tiny beads and handcrafts. And that was just the beginning of my day.
In the section devoted to Ancient and Early Britain I was privileged to handle a bronze bangle bracelet that was hundreds of years old as well as a reproduction of a heavy silver plate inscribed with a scene of Pan and a handmaiden playing flutes and celebrating dating back to Roman Britain.
Though of everything I saw, far too many things to enumerate here, perhaps my favorite was one of the last: an Aztec sculpture of a coiled rattlesnake that not only was quite realistically carved but even had the underside carved to deliniate the segmentation of its belly.
Really, I’m still processing and I might have more to say after I return to the Museum in a few days, but for now best wishes and happy travels!