When I was in college, I had the most amazing opportunity to study abroad in London while completing my degree. The program was based on my degree, International Affairs, and we spent a majority of our time in London working with the House of Parliament and its members, understanding the government process. While that was definitely amazing, the absolute gem of my time there was living on the SAME STREET as the British Museum. It was so close and, being a broke college student, I made sure to spend a lot of time there - especially when my program was over and I had some time to experience London on my own without a curriculum schedule to dictate my time.
Living in a tiny beach town for most of my life, my experience of museums was piddly compared to the grandeur and extensive history hidden within the British Museum. Of course, the outside was astounding but when I walked in the space opened up to reveal a beautiful glass ceiling and open interior leading to the wings where the historical items are housed. It was not what I expected at all.
At the time, I wasn't sure when I'd ever get to come back and spent hours perusing every inch of the museum practically memorizing the exhibitions. I learned so much and devoured every inch. I've since been lucky enough to go back to London to visit multiple times and on my last visit could finally attempt to capture the beauty within. After my first visit to London, I would come to learn of the controversy that surrounds some of the items housed at the British Museum and the requests of the countries where they came from, in the hopes of getting the items returned.
This did color my affection a bit when I returned knowing countries like Greece, Nigeria, Egypt, China, and more are requesting to have these items returned to them and questioning how they were acquired by the British Government. The list includes items like the Parthenon Marbles (aka Elgin Marbles) from Greece and the Rosetta Stone from Egypt. It's caused quite a bit of controversy and it's hard to tell how much longer some of these items will remain at the British Museum.
Something else I discovered at the museum that had nothing to do with the artifacts? The Horrible Histories book series, which although intended for kids is AWESOME from this supposed adult's perspective. I found it in the book store within the museum and have been hooked ever since. I'll be honest - history class was definitely my least favorite. Even lower than math and that says something for me. These books are written with such a great sense of humor and I highly encourage any child or adult to check them out. I've reviewed several on Goodreads and get comments often about my reviews. Every time I returned to London, I'd look for more books to burden my suitcase with but now (HALLELUJAH) they are available on Amazon.com. My collection has grown but is still incomplete. I'm working on it. That and my Asterix and Obelix comics collection (from France) but I'll leave my geek addictions for a different blog post.....
What is the best museum you've ever visited? Is there a historical artifact you saw in real life and couldn't believe it was there - in 3D? What other activities do you do to help save money while traveling (especially in expensive cities like London)? Any other comics and book collection aficionados/geeks like me?