Day 4 in London was set aside for the British Museum. I had been once before but it was late in the day on my arrival and I had only spent about 2 hours there. This time i figured I’d block the day off and see more of it.
A quick ride on the tube and a walk through a small park led me to the main entrance. The park had some flowers I’d not seen before. That really doesn’t mean much, because I don’t have a large sample to choose from, but I was impressed.
I was also impressed by the building across the street that housed the Starbucks. The pharaoh below the center window is really cool. That’s one of my favorite things about London or any other city that was built during the pre-automobile age, buildings are built with many details that can only be seen on foot. Speeding by at 45mph you can’t see such details.
The line (a queue in Britain, yeah I talk British, impressed?) was long but moved fast through security. Once inside I remembered how big it was and immediately knew I would have tom come back again a few more times to see all the rooms.
Since I just returned from my first trip to Japan I made a beeline for the Japan exhibit and spent some time there. Ivory is bad (except for the animals who need it), but old carvings in ivory are beautiful.
I also love Japanese wood block prints, and was able to see a few there. They have an exhibit on Hokusai this summer. I doubt I’ll be able to get back for that which makes me sad. I saw many families turning this particular Sunday. I can’t imagine having access to such things as a child. I can barely imagine having access to this museum as a middle-aged man!
One room I spent some extra time in was on Roman Britain. It fascinates me that farmers can plow through a field and artifacts can turn up from almost 2,000 years ago. Many of the objets were also found in the Thames River, which boggles my mind.
The Roman glasswork was something I was surprised by. My knowledge of Romans is pretty slim, I really should have taken Latin in school, and I had no idea they made glass. The exhibits explained why such little Roman glass exists. Broken items would be melted and recycled, so any items found were lost or buried intentionally as with these funeral urns containing cremains.
I spent about 5 hours this day at the British Museum and still felt like I didn’t see anything. You can spend an hour in the gift shop alone. My advice if you want to visit is to get a guide map ahead of time and plot out what you have to see so you can be sure to hit those items first. The museum also stays open later on Fridays. No matter how much time you spend there, you are going to leave with the urge to return and try to see even more next time.