Day 7: British Museum Archives and Royal Geographical Society

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!

*cricket chirps*

Too soon?

Moving on…

Today we visited the British Museum. Another large institution that I was excited to wander around.

The British Museum (via K. Emmons)
The British Museum (via K. Emmons)

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.

Giant Egyptian sculpture (via K. Emmons)
Giant Egyptian sculpture (via K. Emmons)

The Rosetta Stone… (software reference?)

The key to deciphering hieroglyphs (via K. Emmons)
The key to deciphering hieroglyphs (via K. Emmons)

Here come the mummies… (music reference)…

Unfortunately I didn't see Brendan Frasier (via K. Emmons)
Unfortunately I didn’t see Brendan Frasier (via K. Emmons)

Sarcophagi…

Let's play spot the Kelsey (via K. Emmons)
Let’s play spot the Kelsey (via K. Emmons)

Next I visited the Jade exhibit and the East Asian collections.

Of the Ming Dynasty (via K. Emmons)
Of the Ming Dynasty (via K. Emmons)

Wandered around and found this beautiful piece of artillery:

16th Century grenade launcher. Yep. Grenade launcher. (via K. Emmons)
16th Century grenade launcher. Yep. Grenade launcher. (via K. Emmons)

The Sutton Hoo hoard, which has been connected to Beowulf… (literature reference)…

It's more than just a helmet; I didn't get a picture of the exhibit (via British Museum)
It’s more than just a helmet; I didn’t get a picture of the exhibit (via British Museum)

Lastly, there was the Enlightenment Room…

*sigh* I found the books... (via K. Emmons)
*sigh* I found the books… (via K. Emmons)

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.

Behind that door lies the archives of the British Museum (via K. Emmons)
Behind that door lies the archives of the British Museum (via K. Emmons)

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.

Plaque on the door (via K. Emmons)
Plaque on the door (via K. Emmons)

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.)

“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” (via Wikipedia)

Here is a photo of Ernest Shackleton who raced to make it to the South Pole. A Norwegian man beat him (Roald Amundsen), but Shackleton’s also famed for being a part of the Endurance crew.

Shackleton in 1917 (via Wikipedia)
Shackleton in 1917 (via Wikipedia)

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.

Did Mallory reach the top? (via Wikipedia)
Did Mallory reach the top? (via Wikipedia)

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.

On to Day 8!

Advertisements

One thought on “Day 7: British Museum Archives and Royal Geographical Society

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s