Saturday, 20 October 2007

Look up

Before I leave the subject of the exhibition, just a remark on the setting.

Some years ago, there was a smaller exhibition on the Terracotta Army, also at the British Museum. I went, and remember a darkened room with only the objects lit up.

This time, there are far more artefacts. There has been a great deal more research in the past ten years, and many more discoveries made. Instead of one warrior being sent, there were about twenty figures, including horses and bronze birds. There was a model palace and a display of the production process, and a great many artefacts.

Many of you will have visited the British Museum since its remodelling - the Great Court has been covered with a most beautiful geodesic dome, designed by computer to fit exactly around the existing building. Extra building work was added judiciously, to blend in with the stone. The Reading Room, which housed the British Library, had been made redundant when the Library was moved to a building at St Pancras. Since, it has been used to house the museum's own archive of books.

It is a gorgeous circular room*, with a fabulous domed ceiling. It is lined with bookshelves and the original desks are still in place, radiating out from the centre. It was decided that, emptied, it would be a splendid setting for the exhibition.

However, it was discovered that the benches and the ventilation system were constructed together and could not be separated. So they built a false floor. You walk up a slope and then steps and the exhibition has been constructed half way up the wall! The advantage of this, of course, is that you are considerably closer to the beautiful dome and can see it more clearly. So, when you go to the exhibition, do remember to look up.



*before any of my quirky commenters mention it, it is not a complete sphere.

6 comments:

Chairwoman of the bored said...

Hi Z, great post, very atmospheric. Did you notice if the exhibition was accessible for those of us on mobility scooters?

Z said...

Lovely to hear from you again, dearest Chairwoman. The curator who explained all the technical side said that there is full access for people with disabilities.

Dandelion said...

I haven't been to the British Museum since I was, like, in primary school. You're making me really really want to go there now...

Z said...

Am I turning into a good influence at last? ;-) While you're in the area, do go to the Cartoon Museum round the corner - it's great.

Funny how you don't go to places if you live in the area, only if you're a visitor or have people to stay who want to be shown the sights.

luckyzmom said...

I envy you so for having had this experience. Thanks for sharing.

Z said...

After three expeditions in six weeks, and a holiday, I'm staying put for a while!