Posts Tagged With: museums

More Museums

This is not a strictly chronological post but an overview of some of things we have been doing over the past few days since my last post.

I expect that many other large cities are similar but when I was doing some research for this trip I was astounded by the number and diversity of museums in London.  Apart from the big ones such as the British Museum, Science Museum and Natural History Museum, there is a museum for just about everything you can possibly imagine.  There is everything from cartoons, design, operating theatres, home life, war, transport, banking, Horse Guards, Sherlock Holmes and Florence Nightingale to name but a few.  As the saying goes, there really is something for everyone.

On Friday we started out with the Florence Nightingale Museum which was billed as a ‘small museum located at St Thomas’ Hospital’.  We still managed to while away plenty of time at the detailed exhibits and found it most interesting despite GMan’s initial reservations.  A 10 minute walk brought us to the next one on our list which was the Imperial War Museum.

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The Imperial War Museum was on our ‘must do’ list this time.  We were aware of it on our previous trip to London, however, we spent a full day at the Churchill War Rooms on that trip and felt that we simply could not do justice to any more war-related sightseeing at the time.

The Museum consists of galleries on several different levels and we saw barely half so are planning a return visit in the next week.  The Holocaust gallery was quite graphic and harrowing but is a story that needs to be told.  Even our visit to the National Holocaust Museum in Washington DC in 2012 did not prepare me for this.  I think the other aspect that bothered us greatly was the parallels that can be drawn between the Jews in the lead-up to WWII and the current treatment of particular ethnic and religious groups around the world.  The rhetoric of certain organisations and the way it is fanned by the media is quite troubling when compared to the events in Europe during the 1930s.

After a break away from museums on the weekend we were back to it yesterday as we headed off to the Museum of the Bank of England and the Museum of London.  These are both located in the heart of the financial district in the City of London.  That is not entirely surprising for the Bank of England Museum but the Museum of London is for an ancient reason – it is built partly over the ancient city wall of the Roman settlement of Londinium.

Like the Florence Nightingale Museum, the Bank of England Museum is much more extensive that we imagined.  It is located at the rear of the Bank and traces over 300 years of the the history of the Bank of England.

I had no illusions of the extent of the Museum of London as it is billed as telling the story of the world’s greatest city and its people, from prehistoric times to the present day.  That is an enormous brief and the exhibitions really do live up to the description.  We saw it all but you could certainly spend much more time here.

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Today we ventured a bit further from the centre of London to Shoreditch which is still an inner urban area to visit the Geffrye Museum of the Home, a series of almshouses built in the early 1700s.  They have been used to recreate domestic interiors from 1600 to the present day.  Today was the first day of the special Christmas-themed displays so there were quite a number of visitors.

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Additionally, two of the almshouses have been recreated to represent these facilities in 1780 and 1880.  These are only open to the public via small group guided tours a few times each month.  We managed to co-ordinate our visit with a tour day so made the most of our visit.

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Our timing was pretty well perfect as the entire venue is closing in early January 2018 for approximately 2 years as it undergoes a massive refurbishment, including structural work to ensure that these historic buildings survive for centuries to come.

I did not take any photographs at most of the museums as they are really of not direct benefit.  To me, it is far more important to observe the displays and read the details which we certainly did.

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On the Move

Staying in Halifax and surrounds for 5 days enabled us to see a good range of scenery and attractions in the area.  Then it was time to move on to Cape Breton Island.  Although the island is part of Nova Scotia, I think they tend to regard themselves as different to the mainland.

As usual, we tried to take the ‘road less travelled’ and stay off the major highway once we left Halifax.  The extensive coastline of the maritime provinces offers something new at every turn and this time it was the Eastern Shore that shone.

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This tiny cottage was the centrepiece of another museum.  It was built in the 1850s for a fisherman, his wife and 7 children.  The flat-roofed ‘summer kitchen’ was added by the next generation.  They had 13 daughters – all raised in this house!

We also saw the barn, outdoor wash-house and the chicken run where we saw this beautiful Barred Plymouth Rock rooster.  He was just beautiful.

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More coastal scenery.

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The water is amazingly clear and the colours of the rocks are many and varied.

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We arrived in Baddeck for our first night in Cape Breton.  More about that next time.



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Edinburgh & Entertainment

Our next stop was Edinburgh so we caught the train from Glasgow.  It is a short trip of just over an hour so we managed to find our accommodation which was quite close to Holyrood Palace at the bottom of the Royal Mile and then headed out for some sightseeing in the afternoon.

Edinburgh in August is just crazy as the Tattoo, Festival and Fringe are all running concurrently and it seemed like the whole world had come to town and were all on the Royal Mile.

This was some of the crowd.

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We walked to Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Royal Mile and then made our way down.

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Gladstone’s Land is a tenement building dating back to the 1500’s which is now cared for by the National Trust.  We visited this as well as the Writer’s Museum which is dedicated to the lives and works of Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.

We had booked tickets for an early evening  performance at the Fringe which we thoroughly enjoyed.  The atmosphere was amazing and it was great to be a part of it.

After the performance we had a bite to eat at one of the many pubs on the Royal Mile.  It had an attractive exterior and was pleasant inside.

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The next day we managed to take in three museums on the Royal Mile which were all free admission.  The Museum of Edinburgh gave a good overview of the development of the city over several centuries.  This model gave a really good perspective of the buildings on the Royal Mile.

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The People’s Story Museum included details of real people living and working from the 18th century to the present day and was most interesting.

The final one was the Museum of Childhood and contained a massive collection of children’s toys, games and clothes from the past 100 years.

These beautiful dolls were just one small display.

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Gorgeous Glasgow

Although there is a lot of Scotland further north than Fort William we will not be seeing it on this trip.  We have reached the northernmost point of our travels this time so after our night in Fort William we caught the train south to Glasgow.  We saw the same scenery as we had the day before on the way up and it was drizzling with rain so there are no photos.

Gorgeous is probably not a term that many people use for Glasgow, however, we absolutely loved our time there.

We spent the remainder of our travel day getting settled and doing some domestic chores before a full day of sightseeing the next day.

First stop was the Riverside Museum which is mostly dedicated to transport.

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When you see inside, it is no wonder that it won the Museum of the Year award.  Here are a few glimpses.

3 wheeled car

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Steam trains

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A recreation of a Glasgow street

05 17 blogWe also toured the ‘Glenlee’, a restored tall ship moored behind the museum.  I captured this image reflected in the glass wall of the museum.

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For a change of scenery we headed across the river and visited this beautiful church which contains numerous medieval stones.

05 35 blogThe interior of the church

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