Night at the Museum (1)

Well, not quite. More like an afternoon, four hours walking around the British Museum. Never been before. Well, that’s not true either. Never been properly. I used to walk past it when I was at Uni in London (but never inside it. I was more interested in the museums in Exhibition Road). Years later I often visited the Museum’s map room to look for the exact locations of old mines in Cornwall, and I recall walking past huge Egyptian stone carvings without taking much notice. Last week I spent time there. The thing that struck me most about the place is that it is full of loot, things that don’t really belong to us, treasures of all kinds removed mainly from countries around the Mediterranean – the most well-known being the ‘Elgin Marbles’. That said, it can be argued – fairly convincingly – that if we hadn’t taken many of these items, then they would no longer exist. In the case of the Parthenon, the source of the ‘Marbles’, the Turks had already accidentally blown the place up when they used it as an ammunition dump.

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