Museum of London – mark your diaries for 2009

July 24, 2007 at 5:30 am | Posted in London, Museum of London, Out and About, Travel, UK | 2 Comments
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On a rainy and dreary Sunday last week I found myself at the Museum of London, situated in a walled circle at the centre of a roundabout (hence the circle presumably). Well that and its location near the old city wall and perhaps the design is inspired by a medieval turret.

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The museum, as expected from the name, covers the history of the city through the political and not so political figures who have made it their home. Beginning with a background of the land and its stone age past you begin to get a sense of the long association this area has had with human activity – albeit not always a constant presence. By the same token you become overwhelmed with repetitive displays. How many similar looking stone axe heads does any one person need to see to appreciate that ancient humans used tools? While chronologically this provides a linear experience to the rest of the museum it also dulls the senses and makes one wish the museum were over already.

After ancient Britain I walked into the not so chronological exhibit dealing with the Great Fire of London. I found this exhibit informative and yet frequently playing too much to child visitors. Finally through the fire I begin the museum in earnest as I bizzarely have gone from Stone Age to 1666 and now to back to the Roman era.

The Roman display is informative as you look through recreations of the homes, diorama and maps before moving into medieval London. On this particular day there was a woman dressed in period garb discussing medicines of the day. This worked out well becuase next is the display dealing with the Black Death. More displays follow and I admit my usual enjoyment of museums and history has fled. I’m bored and don’t feel like I’m getting a true appreciation for each of the periods as what content there is seems related solely to whatver artifact they can find. With the above in mind had I seen longer texts I’d at least acknowledge that there is the opportunity to delve deeper should you so wish. Regretably this is not the case.

I made my way downstairs to the Tudors and was barely in when met by a sign saying that the rest of the museum (and London’s history) was closed for redevelopment and I should come back in 2009 when it re-opens. This at least explains why one of their most popular exhibits (the Fire) was so out of place at the beginning.

Until it reopens the museum might be worth a look (particularly as it is free) but if you can wait till ’09 it might be better to postpone until then. Otherwise if there’s bad weather come and check it out (again: free) but there are other opportunities to see London’s history through these historic periods, for example the Tower of London.


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  1. […] Unless you’re coming to Canary Wharf for another reason I wouldn’t recommend the Museum, a free and more central location would be the Museum of London. […]

  2. […] museum, Free, Museum of London, galleries, modern Many years ago, when I first arrived in London, I visited the Museum of London. I was disappointed to find that it only went up to 1600 but was told they […]

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