Museum Hopping - Marilyn Joslin Sklar
Marilyn Joslin Sklar
 
I got a late start Friday. I spent a few hours reading and doing work. Besides classwork I also have regular work to do..as well as research for my internship. Okay, that makes me busy, but that makes me busy in London. I can grab a pint and read...or enjoy a glass of wine and work on my laptop in the cooler climate of England. 


So, as I was saying, I got a late start. I walked from Marylebone to Camden Town, where I visited the Jewish Museum London. It recently reopened with updated exhibits about what it means to be Jewish in the United Kingdom. In one exhibit about Jewish life and rituals, there is a touch screen called "Ask a Rabbi". You can choose from a number of questions, then choose a rabbi from a particular faith. It was fun to hear the different perspectives on the role of women in Judaism and who is a Jew.  There were many other interactives, including a large touch table about the history of Jews in the U.K. The museum had the touch table outside the ritual/life exhibit. There really was no sign directing your attention to it. Gee, after research last semester, I know that table cost tens of thousands of dollars. People passed by it because there was no signage. A few teens wandered over, and after realizing what it was, began to have lots of fun with it!


I picked up some great ideas from the Museum of London about interactives for exhibits. One is a puzzle which asks you to assemble the pieces of a clay vessel (a rubber reproduction, I believe). The other interactive was a game about the history of Jewish expulsions and suffering in Europe. While the topic is awful, the game made the topic a bit safer to discuss ...and turned it into something fun and interesting. 



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Well, after taking the above photos, my camera batteries died. Note to self--TAKE EXTRA BATTERIES DAILY! I have no more photos from the Jewish Museum London...or of Camden Town. For anyone else in the seminar reading this, Camden looks like a great place to grab a meal; I saw some lovely restaurants with cheap prices! Camden is a quaint neighborhood, too. 


Sadly, I have no photos to share from the Museum of London either. Sigh. Great museum. I really enjoyed the exhibits on London's prehistory and Roman periods. As I posted on Facebook, I was shocked momentarily to see human skulls in some of exhibits of earlier periods. Curators also included human cremations; some vessels were filled with ash and bone pieces. We can't do that in the States anymore, really, not since the passage of NAGPRA. We have living descendants, and I think we feel differently, too, about treatment of the dead. What do you think? This topic started quite a discussion on Facebook! Do you think human remains should be displayed? What if the remains are non-native? What are your thoughts? I will post more photos of the Museum of London as our group will tour there later in the seminar. 


After a brief rest period for my haggard feet, I met up with Allison Dixon and we headed to the British Museum. I learned from their Facebook posting today that the museum was having a free evening event--"Renaissance Late". It featured all kinds of activities about the Renaissance, including art activities, theatre, lectures, Italian beer and wine tastings, falconry, and swordfighting demonstrations. Allison and I chose to watch the INDOOR swordfighting and the outdoor falconry demonstration. 
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Oh, yes. The birds worked for treats--dead chicks!
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Allison Dixon pets one of the hawks in the falconry demonstration. He was beautiful! 
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After "Renaissance Late" we finally had dinner! Allison and I decided on the Museum Pub very near the British Museum. Yes, the Museum Pub! How great is that?! We had pear ale and some nontraditional pub fare; my dish was shrimp curry! Spicy but the curry was a little cold. Well, that was my museum hopping for today. Tomorrow, more fun, more museums, more London!


RESPONSE TO TOM: HI, TOM! Yes, they were wearing protective gear. You could still hear the clash of the swords. I'm sure the real things are much louder. It was kinda cool watching them though. 


I've been to some other birds of prey shows. In Flagstaff, the staff members at the Arboretum feed the great horned owl quail parts. My friend and I wondered what the fuzzy things were the man at the British Museum was feeding to the raptors. As we got closer, we saw the dead chicks. And, he was not just giving them small pieces. At one point, he gave a hawk a decapitated chick, which the bird ate in about three bites! That's nature for you: eat or be eaten. 
Tom
7/10/2010 03:26:34

Ah, it looks like the swordfight was between guys in modern touch-point protective gear. I was hoping they looked like knights and there would be lots of clanging and banging about.

It is interesting that the falcons eat "treats" of dead chicks -- in public -- yet we have a problem with looking at the bones of our ancestors!

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