Thursday, July 2, 2015
I’ve made it through the first week! *celebrates with confetti tissues*
I may have gotten some minor sniffles, but no bumps or bruises or the Black Plague!
Today we visited the British Museum. Another large institution that I was excited to wander around.
Let me tell you… it is HUGE. I could easily spend several days walking through these exhibits and still probably miss something.
My group was scheduled to view the British Museum Central Archives at 11:30, so we spent that time viewing a few of the exhibits. First, the Egyptian collections of which the Museum is famous for.
The Rosetta Stone… (software reference?)
Here come the mummies… (music reference)…
Next I visited the Jade exhibit and the East Asian collections.
Wandered around and found this beautiful piece of artillery:
The Sutton Hoo hoard, which has been connected to Beowulf… (literature reference)…
Lastly, there was the Enlightenment Room…
I felt at home in there.
Those photos only give you a glimpse of the building size and its exhibits. Comparably, though, the Central Archives of the British Museum are tiny. Like, super tiny.
More on that in another post.
Our next stop was the Royal Geographical Society, which was AMAZING. It wasn’t something that I was super excited about before coming to London because I didn’t know much about it.
The librarian, Eugene, has been there for 15 years and he made the objects come to life. Here’s a rundown of the stories.
The Society was founded in 1830 to promote and fund scientific geography (exploration). Have you heard of David Livingstone, Ernest Shackleton, or George Mallory? They made trips to find the source of the Nile, the magnetic South pole, and the peak of Mt. Everest. No small tasks! Eugene actually showed us objects and maps from their expeditions! (No photos, unfortunately)
Here’s Dr. Livingstone who set out to find the source of the Nile River. His story sounds very similar to that of Mr. Kurtz in Heart of Darkness. (Mr. Kurtz was actually based on Joseph Conrad’s own experiences on a Belgian steamer, but the novella draws parallels between London and the Congo.)
And finally, George Mallory. George Mallory and his climbing partner Andrew “Sandy” Irving climbed Mt Everest in 1924 to be the first ever to reach the peak. Unfortunately, they disappeared.
It wasn’t until 1999 that a climbing expedition found George Mallory’s body – he was frozen and preserved relatively well after 75 years. (YouTube video of finding the body)
Two major theories exist concerning if Mallory reached the top of Mt Everest: his wife’s photo was missing from his wallet, which he carried with the intent to leave at the summit; and his goggles were found in his pocket, suggesting that the pair were climbing down from the summit after sundown. Irving is said to have carried a camera, which would possibly prove if they reached the top. Irving nor his camera have ever been found. It wasn’t until 1953 that the first successful expedition reached the top of Mt Everest (Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay).
I’m super geeking out about these topics and I didn’t even know it was something I was interested in. Eugene told their stories in a way that I now want to read more on the subjects! That’s what a great librarian does.