The British Museum (Free Day)

My first day in London was definitely full of excitement. As I was waiting for the rest of the group to arrive, I spent my time with two professors, Shawn Nichols-Boyle and Chu He. I was able to do a few things that weren’t on our class itinerary. The most interesting place I was able to visit was the British Library. Of course it was filled with marvelous collections of books. It was interesting to see how they shelved these books and you could only get a book if you requested it online, then a machine would pull your book off the shelve and dispense it to you. Working at a library myself, this was of great interest to me. What I did not realize about the library is that it had a room of hidden treasures. In this room you could get lost looking at old manuscripts, musical scores, religious texts, scientific discoveries, and historical documents.

I was particularly interested in the literature section of this room in which there were original handwritten copies of novels such as Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and even further back Beowulf. Most of these copies were originals and were still in the author’s handwriting, including editing marks such as lines through a text or a changed word. It was extremely fascinating to be able to see these works in their stages of imperfection. It helped to see that famous authors had an editing process as well and that these texts were not that easy to come by.

Outside of the room of Britain’s hidden treasures, I also found a very fascinating piece of modern art. It was a three dimensional painting of bookshelves. At first you cannot tell that it actually is a 3D model. But you can clearly see from the side that the diagram pops out from the wall. I would love this in my library at home!!!




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