One of the perks of being a staff member at The National Archives is that I get free entry into a number of London museums. This includes special exhibitions at the British Museum. So far I have not made any use of this perk. However, I really wanted to visit the latest exhibit, Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. As the exhibition is closing in less than a month I had to make it now!
Having picked up a ticket I made it to the exhibition space, where I started off by watching a short video about the exhibition. From there I was then led through the exhibit in a sequential manner. This is something which I generally appreciate, rather than being allowed to explore on my own. The reason for this is that I very easily get lost, miss things, and then struggle to figure out the whole picture of what I should be seeing. Also, the exhibition space is not overcrowded, with different items competing for your attention. Instead, the general idea seems to be minimal object which contribute something to the story the exhibition is trying to tell. This further helped me not to get overwhelmed with information.
One complaint I would have is about the amount of people in the exhibition space. I was surprised that on a week day the space was so crowded. I was surprised when I was in Berlin at the amount of people in museums, but this was on a similar level. Waiting in line to see each and every exhibit significantly detracts from being allowed to get totally immersed in what you are seeing and experiencing. However, I guess, making these exhibitions costs money. Also, footfall is probably one of the main success targets.
I had already been to one of these big exhibitions at the British Museum: the Shah Abbas exhibition. I might have liked that exhibition a bit more. That’s possibly because it was a completely new subject to me. However, besides the fact that it was a bit too crowded for my liking, there’s some really good work there!