Nasty, Brutish, and Short
On Friday, Decemeber 9th, our group visited The British Museum, located only a few blocks the flats we stayed at in London. The Museum was old and beautiful, like most of the buildings we visited. When we arrived we were taken through a tour of the Enlightenment Gallery by a wonderful tour guide. It was an interesting tour, because it took place entirely in one room, but it was packed with history.
The tour began with the bust of a man none of us knew. He turned out to be Sir Hans Sloane, the progenitor of the Museum. A physician and naturalist, Sloane was also an avid collector, feeling that collecting objects held historical and educational value. He sold his collection of 71,000 objects to King George II for 20,000 Pounds, intending these objects to be for the nation. In 1753, an act of Parliament founded the British Museum, which would house these items; in 1759 it was opened to the public. Oddly enough, our docent noted that the bust of Sloane was the only object that had remained in the museum since its origin.
The gallery we toured contained everything from animal bones, to diagrams, to a copy of the Rosetta Stone. Its items documented wide roots of the origins of Natural Science. Also around the room could be seen books from King George's 'Old Royal Library' that he'd donated in 1757. The tour was particularly fascinating in illuminating how far we've come scientifically since that important period. During other tours we learned a lot about important people, and important theories and discoveries, but this tour showcased the small scale, experimental aspects of early Natural Science.
Reporter: Josh Beckelhimer