Wednesday, July 7, 2010

British Museum Archives

I love museums, but I hate how I always spend too much time in one place! Going into a museum as large as the British Museum, I find I have to keep track of time so I can see everything! The Europe and Egyptian exhibits were my favorite, especially the mummies! The Archives tour was amazing! I'm starting to enjoy archives more and more after our visits. Learning that the history of the museum can be found in the records held in archives proves how vital this department truly is. The archive records are trustees records from as early as the 1760s. The records are split into governance, staff and finances, the building, exhibitions, and the reading records. The Book of Presents, which also began in the 1760s, contains the information of the person who donated an item, their address, and whether they received a letter of thanks. Also, the receipt of the donation can be found with the record. Another item we viewed was a Letter Book. These are records of the letters of conversation from the excavationists to the director. There are 8,000 photographs held in the archives. These photographs consist mainly of the exhibits within and photographs of the outside of the building. We were shown pictures of the damage done to the archives during WWII, including a shell found inside the Museum!
I loved this tour because of all the information given and shown to us. The highlight was definitely taking a peek at Karl Marx and T.S. Eliot's signatures! The archives in the British Museum contains so much valuable information about the history of the evolution of the museum and everything contained within.

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