We saved the British Museum for our last day in London, and ended up spending a few hours there. It was definitely impressive to see how expansive the museum’s collection was (regardless of your feelings about how the museum came to possess these artifacts). My favorite exhibits were:
- Ancient Egyptian mummies & artifacts. No shocker here, but it was very cool to see the actual Rosetta Stone and the mummies (including the cat mummies, sorry Othello). It was, however, really annoying how crowded the area was.
- Assyrian lion hunt. This insane, multi-room stone mural depictes lion hunts the king participated in during a time when lions apparently became over-populated and were a threat to the people (or whatever the link says). It was interesting because of the story the mural told, but also becuase I really haven’t had the chance to see much Assyrian or Middle Eastern art before. I guess that’s also why I decided to splurge on a vase from Iran in the gift shop later on.
- Mayan bloodletting ritual. It was really interesting to learn about this ancient ritual where even women would do things like run a thorny rope through their tongues to invoke a spiritual vision. I won’t mention what the men would pierce, but you can read the link if you’re interested in the gruesome details.
Overall, I really liked the museum – not to mention that it’s FREE – but it was super annoying that photos were allowed. I realize people want to remember what is likely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and taking a few shots of really meaningful displays is fine, but in the end it seems like tourists are just focused on snapping shots of everything instead of enjoying the experience of looking at the actual exhibits. Not to mention that it causes havoc at popular exhibits (i.e. Egyptian mummies) where everyone’s just pushing and shoving to take a shot. Trust me, your photo is not going to come out that great, so if you really like an exhibit – just go buy a book about it with photos! Ok, that was my little rant.