Vikings at the British Museum

On Thursday we took advantage of free education tickets to visit the Vikings exhibition at the British Museum.  I had emailed them a couple of months ago with numbers, date and time saying we home educate and they sent me a code to collect the tickets.  All very efficient. I am very impressed with the British Museum for their accessibility to home educators.

There were no photographs in the exhibition but we’d taken our Book of Centuries for sketching instead.

20140504_5To be honest, I don’t think either of us particularly enjoyed the exhibition.  It was too ‘samey’, lots of brooches and neckchains and jewellery.  It was also far too busy and far too hot.  People are very kind at steering Sam to the front so he can see, but that is all he is doing ‘seeing’.  We need to stand in front on a case together for several minutes and look together, talking, spotting details and reading the descriptions to get much out of these things really and it was hard to do.

By the time we reached the wow wee (stealing that phrase from another home eder as I like it) bit which should have interested Sam more, the later Viking age and the British raids complete with a parts of a ship (and a frame from metal to get idea of scale) we were flagging and skipping bits in the need to get out.

I don’t recall us being at all like that with the Pompeii exhibition which I am sure was just as busy.  But I think maybe the Vikings just don’t grab us in the same way, we have been doing some reading and documentary watching on the subject to incite interest and we are both always interested in history but there isn’t the ‘wowness’ there that Ancient Rome (and Greece and Egypt) can incite.  Also the exhibition was curated badly no flow, no story.  I don’t feel we learned or gained any understanding of Viking culture from the exhibition.  We’ve gained far more at home in front of the TV watching Neil Oliver.

Probably should have read the reviews before hand!  Reviews suggest we should have done the Human Story exhibition at the NHM instead – think I need to find time to fit that in somewhere.

I’d planned to nip in to the National Portrait Gallery to see their WW1 exhibition.  However, we were a bit jaded after the exhibition and on the walk up we’d seen lots of things that had caught my Father in Law’s attention (likes architecture and not familiar with much of London).  So we stopped for lunch and went for a walk.  Weaving our way through various churches, Covent Garden and Somerset House (where someone got rather wet!)

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and then crossed Waterloo Bridge


and had a potter down the South Bank

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to the Tate Modern – although it was the industrial architecture that was the draw, didn’t actually visit any galleries just ran around the turbine hall being snipers 🙂




The list of trips we want to make to London is growing longer

  • The Human Story exhibition at NHM
  • The WW1 exhibition at National Portrait Gallery
  • Day on the South Bank – picnic, Tate Modern, possibly Globe, general pottering
  • Somerset House with change of clothes 😉
  • IWM must be reopening soon…

So much to do, so little time.

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