Tuesday 7th June – 22nd meeting of 2016
An underground from Charing Cross to Tottenham Court Road and a short walk led us to The British Museum today. We went through the security checks on the doors and decided to join one of the free tours available but as it didn’t start until 12.15pm we went for a coffee in the Museum Restaurant.
We went to the entrance to Enlightenment Gallery to meet with the guide and other people taking the tour. It was a very large group of around 30 people and the guide remarked one of the largest group he has had.
We all went into the Enlightenment Gallery where he explained the Enlightenment Period was from 1680 to 1820 when the whole system of the universe was being investigated. He took was around and showed us different exhibits that made a great impact on the way people thought of how, why and when items were made, discovered and their uses. Museums was not a word or a concept in this period and collectors kept all their displays in a Cabinet of Curiosities. A great collector of curiosities was Sir Hans Sloane who donated his enormous collection to the nation and that gave rise to The British Museum! Also the library of George 111 was given to the nation by George 1V and added to the Museum. The gallery is divided into the seven major new disciplines of the age: Religion and ritual, Trade and discovery, the birth of archaeology, Art and civilisation, Classifying the world, Ancient scripts and The natural world. The guide explained how during this time people started to catalogue items and that it is the basis that is still used to this day. The tour ended at model of The Rosetta Stone, the original is in the Museum and he explained how when it was translated it opened up a whole new world of discovery.
This was a fascinating tour which was interesting and enjoyable. The Museum is amazing and houses so many treasures and with all the additions and improvements to the fabulous building is a wonderful place to be. Free tours are offered each day and I would recommend joining one.
Trains home for us all after a very enjoyable morning!