Hello and welcome to an exciting new weekly blog series I would like to call, Museum of the Week! London is a museum hot spot and because of that, Queen Mary offers a course just in museums! In London and its Museums, you are able to go to a different museum every week for ten weeks to discuss art, culture and how museums benefit society. And the best part about it? All of the museums in London are free! So even if you can’t take a course like this and are in London, take advantage of their wide collection of museums for no charge.
This weeks museum is The British Museum. The British Museum was founded in the 1700s and continues on to be one of the most extensive collections of artifacts that track human history. The museum is home to about 8 million works. This monster museum is complete with beautiful Greco-Roman architecture and really takes your breath away with every detail.
For this class, we met in the great room and made our way to the Parthenon Exhibit. Now, the class is in fact structured around specific exhibits and ideas, allowing for interesting discussion on topics that I’ve never thought about before. I was looking forward to more time in the museum, but since we were focusing on the Elgin Marbles, there was not a lot of time to wander around.
The class met in the Parthenon Exhibit to begin discussing the debate of the Elgin Marbles. These are statues that were once apart of the Parthenon in Greece and are now almost evenly split between The British Museum and the Acropolis Museum in Greece. The debate about these statues has been going on for years. In a nutshell, Greece wants the statues back and The British Museum refuses. This was an interesting debate between culture, and the preservation of human history. On one side, the statues are apart of the rich culture of Greece, on the other side more people come to The British Museum and can appreciate the statues. It’s a debate that seems to be at a standstill, and it will be intersting to see how it resolves.
This first class really got me thinking about topics I wouldn’t have thought of before. It is also making me aware of the issues surrounding museums and how they fit in society. All I know is I need to go back and explore this museum more fully, and I can’t wait to go see what’s coming up next!