The Queen’s House in Greenwich may have a modest appearance, but it has one of the most interesting creation stories. It was supposedly commissioned by James I as an apology to his wife, the offence being his swearing in front of her after she had accidentally killed one of his dogs during a hunt. I, too, now have additional questions. Continue reading →
Adult Entry: Free Nearest Tube: Holborn, Central Line
As someone who works day-to-day with the dry, safe, non-organic collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, it was a considerable step outside of my comfort zone to visit the biological repository that is the Hunterian Museum. The museum, housed within the Royal College of Surgeons, holds around 3,500 ‘specimens’, which is a pleasant way of saying ‘dead things in jars’.
Adult Entry: Exhibition £14 Nearest Tube: High Street Kensington, District & Circle Line
Breaking: New Museum Opens In South Kensington! In other news; independent coffee shop opens between a Starbucks and a Costa. Casualties expected.
It takes guts for an upstart museum to shoulder its way into the territory of multiple very established institutions. How could the Design Museum compete with the collections housed at the V&A or NHM? Fortune, we are told, favours the bold, but perhaps it also favours the principled. Continue reading →
Lets move to our second case study: The Temple of Dendur. This temple was removed in its entirety from Egypt and brought to a specially created room in the Met, where it was faithfully reconstructed. It stands in a tranquil hall, one glass wall looking out onto Central Park, surrounded by a shallow canal. The room could not do a better job of inciting the grandeur and serenity of the original temple.
Do we interpret that the available space has improved the interpretation? Or perhaps only that the available space has increased the maximum quality achievable for that object. Continue reading →
I went on holiday to New York last month. This was pleasant for a number of reasons, among which was the chance to fulfill a long-delayed desire: to visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I have been to the museums in other major American cities, but sadly too long ago for me to review them with any clarity. This trip, therefore, provided an excellent opportunity for me to approach my visit critically and do some comparing with our British counterparts. Continue reading →
Adult Entry: Free Nearest Tube: Tower Hill, District & Circle Line
London is a port city. Had you forgotten? Because I had.
It is very easy to forget that the docks and wharves lining the Thames have not always been super-luxury apartments for the wealthy suits of the city. Indeed, with the eviction of most of London’s maritime trading to the far eastern end of the city, there is little evidence that the Thames still provides anything more than a neutered fairground ride for visiting tourists.
I would love to say that St Katharine Docks is an exception. It isn’t. But it does give an idea of how London’s industrial past can be gentrified in a manner that still allows it to be enjoyed by visitors. Continue reading →