Monday, 20 July 2009
*photo courtesy of britishmuseum.org
The British Museum was founded in 1753 and contains collections from across the globe. There are roughly six million visitors per year and admission is free! It was very crowded and pretty warm but well worth it. There was not enough time in one day to enjoy all this museum had to offer.
The British Museum holds the Parthenon Sculptures, which were extremely impressive. The entire collection of remaining sculptures is divided between six different countries with the most being in Athens and London, and some in the Louvre and the Vatican. The pieces in London are sometimes known as the 'Elgin Marbles' and have been in this museum since 1817. There is much of a debate about these items being here and not in Athens. You can read more about the debates on their website, or at www.culture.gr.
Other interesting objects were the Egyptian mummies and artifacts. This was what I wanted to see first, and where I spent a lot of my time wandering and pondering. There were even mummified cats!
There is also the children's section which offers free art materials, free access to the online collection, and children's books. There are free family activities every day, and 'Hamlyn family trails' that guide children's exploration and understanding of the library. It is fantastic that children are encouraged to love museums at such an early age. This can set them up for greater understanding and appreciation of culture and learning. It is important that children see the museum and library as a place that is fun and affords diverse activities that they enjoy. This is certainly the place for children to realize this concept!
The Hamlyn library contains over 18,000 items and is reference only-not a lending library. Unfortunetly I did not have a chance to see inside the library but according to their website, their collection has over 18,000 items. The collection contains information about the exhibits and various cultures displayed in the museum. I found it interesting that the library is a serious reseach library, and at the same time they hold regular storytelling sessions for children. Great balance!
*Photo by Lauren Dodd :)
Visit the museum's website at www.britishmuseum.org