Preserved History at The British Museum

Published: 10/20/15 6:15 PM in Europe, Merevin Wedding, Travel.

During the last leg of our honeymoon through England and Scotland, Kevin and I finally got to stay in one place in the heart of Central London. So we enjoyed the final few days of our honeymoon by taking it easy and visiting the many highlights within the city of London including Kew Gardens, The National Gallery, The Natural History Museum, and of course the British Museum. That is one of the great things about being in such a culturally rich city, plenty of access to world class museums with once-in-a-lifetime displays.

The British Museum is home to so many artifacts of world history, it is a must-see destination even for individuals typically bored by the study of history. Because as you move through gallery after gallery within this museum, history comes alive! Instead of just learning about what the Rosetta Stone did for the study of human history within the pages of a book, you can listen to its importance as you stand directly in front of the stone itself. It is hard not to be awestruck by the beauty of Greek sculptures when you can see their detail and fluidity in person.

And if you are a history enthusiast like we are, where comfortable shoes. Because you will want to take your time and you will want to see everything. Pro Tip: In areas of the museum they have little black fold out stools you can take and carry around with you. Find them and use them for a more comfortable viewing throughout the many galleries.

The entrance to the British Museum in London, England.

Meredith Lambert Banogon stands outside the British Museum during her honeymoon in England.

The interior of the courtyard of the British Museum designed by Norman Foster.

The interior courtyard of the British Museum designed by Norman Foster.

The Architecture of The British Museum

In addition to housing some of the world’s greatest treasures, the architecture of The British Museum makes a statement all on its own. The core of the museum was designed by Sir Robert Smirke in the Greek Revival style and was a quadrangle with four wings: the north, east, south and west. The first wing was completed in 1827 with the entire core completed in 1852. Through the years, additional galleries have been added to the museum’s core design including the King Edward VII galleries (1914) and the Duveen gallery (opened in 1962).

However the most recent addition to the British Museum and the one that makes the ultimate first impression is The Great Court designed by Foster and Partners opened in 2000. The Great Court is a beautiful two-acre space enclosed by a glass roof with the Reading Room at the center of it all. This space is the center of the entire museum, where you can discover the many galleries that shoot off from each wing. The open plan allows visitors to stop, gather, or move unimpeded through the space while guiding them to the different galleries to discover the wonders of history that within.

Detail shot of the roof of the interior courtyard of the British Museum in London, England.

The stone bust of great pharaoh Ramesses II stands tall over the Egyptian sculpture room at The British Museum.

The Nereid Monument takes up an entire gallery at The British Museum.

The marble sculptures of the Parthenon are preserved in the galleries of the British Museum.

This Parthenon frieze shows an ongoing story of movement in battle.

The Preservation of World History

There is no doubting the fact that the British Museum houses many treasures that tell the story of human history throughout all the nations of the world. However, there is doubt when it comes to whether or not some of these items should be on display with these walls in London or returned to their countries of origin.

One of the most famously disputed pieces is the Elgin Marbles; the marble statues and carvings that made up the walls and friezes of the Parthenon. There is one side of the argument that these items belong in their countries of origin for moral and artistic reasons as they may have been obtained illegally in the first place. While the other side argues that these pieces are being cared for in a secure location where they will be preserved for countless generations to experience.

Yet, no matter which side of the discussion you agree with, there is one thing that is certain: seeing these pieces in person is an awe-inspiring experience. Suddenly history is not just a series of dates and odd names, it is a three-dimensional experience with outstanding proportions. Seeing a scale picture of the colossal winged lion statues from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpa will never compare to standing next to them and feeling dwarfed.

The amazing details that bring marble to life in the Parthenon Sculptures preserved at the British Museum.

A cracked Spartan helmet on display at the British Museum tells an intense story of Greek history.

The Colossal winged lion statues from the North-West Palace of Ashurnasirpa flank your entry to the next gallery.

The impressive display of asian artifacts at the British Museum in London, England.

A full Samurai suit on display at the British Museum in London, England.

A close up of a piece on display at the British Museum in their extensive Asian collection.

Egyptian mummies on display at the British Museum in London, England.

Our Visit to the British Museum

During Kevin and I’s visit to the British Museum, we wanted t make sure we had enough time to see everything and take our time through the displays. The official website for the museum also has very informative gallery maps to let you know where the most popular displays are so that you don’t miss anything. So I would definitely suggest doing a bit of research before going.

Since both of us have a fascination for history, it was almost surreal to see the pieces in person. We had to keep reminding ourselves that they were real and not decorative elements within an amusement park (this is a common by-product of growing up in Florida). For me, I could have spent all day looking at the detailed carving of the marble sculptures throughout the museum. While Kevin ultimately seemed fascinated by the clock section of the museum. Inside were the amazing mechanical marvels used to tell time throughout history.

It was an eventful day spent learning and appreciating history. At the end of which, we went back to our AirBnB with weary feet and bag of mementos to chronicle the history of our visit.

Meredith Lambert Banogon and Kevin Banogon visit the Egyptian collection at the British Museum.

Beautifully sculpted Roman faces on display at the British Museum.

The Lewis Chessmen at the British Museum make up the oldest chess set.

A detailed shot of the marble drapery sculpted by the Greeks.

Enjoy a Short Video of Our Honeymoon in England

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Meandering the Gardens at Kew
East Coast Train to London

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