My friend Keely texted me last week to tell me about a family activity the British Museum was having on Saturday called an Egyptian Photo Booth. (She obviously knows of Eli’s obsession with all things Egyptian.) Both Richard and I were getting a little stir crazy after a month of Saturday’s at home so we jumped on the chance to get out, and… the British Museum!
We didn’t quite understand what exactly it was all about until we got there, and then we wished we would have had Eli wear his Pharaoh costume, but we still had fun making these comics.
After the photo booth we ate lunch in the family dining area. Keely told me about this too- and it’s brilliant. They have taken an old part of the museum and turned it into a locker room/ indoor picnic area. It’s so practical and so family friendly, and yet you still feel like you’re in a really cool old building. Museum cafes are great for a quick snack when I’m alone or with Simon, but feeding the whole family at a museum cafe can be expensive, crowded and offer limited kid-friendly options. It was really quiet in this room, and it was also really nice to put all our coats and our lunch in the locker.
After lunch we went back upstairs and made our way through the Egyptian and Greek exhibits. As usual, Eli was engrossed, Cameron was mildly amused and Miriam and Simon were quickly bored. We made the best of it, and I took some photos of a few of my favorite artifacts.
Amenhotep III – 1350 BC
Pound it Amenhotep.
This is a false door to the tomb of an ancient Egyptian, the hieroglyphics depict his life. I was impressed because the red coloring is original paint from 2400 B.C. (Ptahshepses – son-in-law to the fifth dynasty king Niuserre.)
Aren’t hieroglyphics fun?
This is an Assyrian monument to a king, and the text narrates his campaigns and wars. 852 BC
Hieroglyphics = fun. This more evolved text = not fun. Can you imagine the writers cramp?
This reminds me of me. Either 9 months prego or after Thanksgiving dinner.
These are terracotta perfume bottles from East Greece 600-550 BC. “Perfume” was just scented oil, but apparently these little bottles were popular. I like them, and I like the idea of a woman having this on hand for a splash of femininity in a sweaty and smelly world.
It’s hard to grasp the actual size of this jar. (East Greek – 700BC) If you look closely you can sort of make out my reflection in the glass. It was used to store oil or grain. I had to laugh at my own practicality. This lovely jar is a far cry from the plastic Tupperware I use for storage. It reminds me of that quote by William Morris. “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” And how wonderful indeed if it is both!
It’s much easier to scale size when there are people in the picture. Just ignore the giant cardboard wall obstructing the view. They are doing some renovations in this wing of the museum.
This is the Nereid Monument, a Lykian tomb from south-west Turkey, dated 380 B.C.
Sometimes when I’m at these museums I start to feel overwhelmed. I read a caption about Lykian culture and my mind is completely blank. What/who/where was Lycia? (I only know how to spell that because I looked it up.) This world is so expansive. It’s history so infinte. And my knowledge so infinitesimally small. I enjoy learning little bits here and there, but I also feel a great conflict. It’s a battle between an insatiable hunger to learn more and a complete discouragement and inadequacy that fosters ambivalence.
So that about sums up my museum experiences, and many other of my experiences here in London and in my life in general. Tempering the discouragement with enthusiasm, and shedding inadequacy for optimism and gratitude.
A marble statue of a young girl. Athens- 350 B.C. I like it because it’s a little girl. And because I learned from the description that geese were popular pets for Greek children.
By this point Miriam and SImon were completely spent, so Richard took them back down to the locker room and I took Cameron and Eli upstairs just to do a quick walk-through of the mummies.
The staircase hallways are covered in these tile mosaics found throughout the Roman empire. I love them.
We really only spent about 10 minutes looking at the mummies, but it was really fascinating, so I’m sure I will go back, and I know Eli wants to spend more time there as well. By this point the museum was quite crowded and Richard was waiting downstairs with the littles so we called it a day.
After we left the museum on our way back to the tube station we passed a park. I always feel like a park is the least I can offer Simon (and all the kids, really) after dragging him through a museum for three hours.
Imaginary football. (And by football I really mean soccer. I think Cameron is officially converted.)