Thursday, May 13, 2010

British Library & British Museum – 8 May 2010

Page  turning virtual book at British LibraryTemperatures plummeted in the UK this week, so it seemed like a good day to check out the new Magnificent Maps exhibition at the British Library. This free exhibition is well worth visiting.

Patchwork mapThe maps on display came from many different countries, and included the World's largest Atlas, presented to Charles II in 1660. It has 41 maps, many unique and the others very rare.

King's Library TowerWe were fascinated to read the notes accompanying the display on how maps were used in the past, that “Rulers received their guests in their audience chamber, where maps conveyed their power and dominance.” As we have a tapestry map in our living room (purchased on holiday in Florence and supposedly a copy of Christopher Columbus's map of the world), we decided that this put us up with the 'ruler' mentality.

Standard of UK 2500BCThe Library also has a permanent exhibition which features among other interesting items, the original hand written lyrics for some of the Beatles' famous hits and two of the four extant copies of the Magna Carta.
A must visit - Lewis chess piecesA real treat when visiting the Library, is to have lunch right beside King George III's library collection. This was donated to the British Museum by his son George IV, and since relocated to a specially designed four story tower, appropriately called the King's Library Tower.
'Swimming' duck on Celtic flagon 450BCGolden chariot model from 300-500BC
Internal courtyard at British MuseumThe British Museum is only a short walk away, and we enjoyed our first visit in years, to have a dip into the various galleries by way of their new 'History of the World in 100 Objects' programme. This is in conjunction with the BBC, and so far only the first 30 objects are identified, with a map to find them. It was a great way to follow a theme and cover most of the Museum in the process.

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